Matt Yglesias comments on survey results about which issues cause people to vote against a candidate. Top of the List? Gay marriage, abortion. The bottom? Environment and Gun Control (translation: issues that affect most ordinary Americans). Even when the question is posed to environmentalists, they still answer the same way.
Commenters point out that the Environment is a general category of issues, while gay marriage and abortion are more specific Yes-No answers. However, you can easily squeeze the environment into a single issue: global warming. Environmental groups should issue a “Global Warming Hall of Shame” list of politicians, and try to publish one name per congressional district. That makes it possible to run TV commercials and flyers saying “Candidate Ricky Ricardo was listed on the Global Warming Hall of Shame for two consecutive years.”
Even I am surprised at how quickly global warming ascended to a hotbutton topic. Ordinary Americans don’t quite understand it (neither do I), but they know the government should be doing something about it. If you are seen as not doing something (or a lobbying group says you are not doing anything), that could be as poisonous as saying you oppose Marriage Bribes or coercive morality
See also: my argument about why gay marriage is a secret zombie conspiracy.