The Right: CPAC Versus The Values Voters

People who write about the conservative movement, as I do, tend to sometimes group together all of the intertwined but separate elements of the movement under umbrella terms like “the Right” for the sake of simplicity. While such terms are useful, especially when discussing the movement as a whole, it can sometimes lead to confusion.

While “the Right” shares much of the same overall agenda and many of the same goals, the various wings of the Republican Party’s base do not necessarily share the same priorities – something of which I was reminded when taking a look at the results of the CPAC straw poll [Powerpoint document] which showed that limiting government out-polled “protecting traditional marriage and protecting the life of the unborn” by a 5 to 1 margin among CPAC attendees:

Compare that to the results of the straw poll held at the 2007 Values Voter Summit where abortion and marriage were considered far and away the most important issues by some 60% of attendees and limiting government wasn’t even included:

Obviously, this is not a perfect comparison, but it does illustrate an important point that “the Right” is not necessarily monolithic or even in agreement about what its priorities ought to be and that the people who attend events such as CPAC are not the same people who attend events like the Values Voter Summit.