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Whatever Happened to Gay Marriage as the Ultimate Wedge Issue?

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A few years ago it looked like opposition to gay marriage was going to equal or surpass abortion as the ultimate wedge issue - a device capable of defeating Democrats in all but the most-liberal districts.

And yet consider this:

-The topic didn't come up in Tuesday's debate

-There's not been a single McCain-Palin ad on gay marriage.

-John McCain did not mention it in his acceptance speech at the Republican convention.

-Sarah Palin did not mention it in her convention acceptance speech, either.

-Of the 57 speeches listed on McCain's Web site, I couldn't find a single mention of the gay marriage issue.

What happened?

For starters, the topic has less currency because there are fewer referendums on state ballots. While 11 states considered ballot initiatives in 2004, only three are this year. That means fewer campaign dollars and volunteer hours focused on the issue.

More important, public opinion has shifted. Social issues in general have become less important to voters as the economy has worsened. ...

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