Will Voters Forget Faith Issues in this Bad Economy?

If the economy is the number one issue for voters, how will Christian conservatives like those attending the Values Voter summit make sure that social issues like the right to life and gay marriage are addressed?

Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council says the two go hand in hand. Perkins tells Fox News, “I'm a fiscal conservative, but we can't dial back the size of government until we strengthen the American family.”

Brand new Fox News/Opinion Dynamics polls show the economy is the number one issue of concern to 57 percent of voters most interested in this election. But Perkins insists, “Without question there is a correlation between the economy and the breakdown of American family values.”

In fact, Perkins claims the expansion of federal government can at least in part be blamed on a break down in family values. Perkins says, “The American family is the primary unit. Because of the fractured family, because of the policies that have really hurt the family, we have seen an expansion of government.”

The Family Research Council is putting on the summit in Washington, D.C. The conservative conference is hosting several high profile Republicans, including former governors Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, Sen. Jim DeMint, Reps. Michele Bachmann and Mike Pence, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Coming in a close second to the economy in that Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll is the trustworthiness of a candidate. 53 percent say this is the most important issue.

That raises questions about the support for one speaker at the conference. Fresh off her primary win, republican Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell held her coming out party at the summit. But O’Donnell has been plagued with questions about whether she’s been truthful about her education and her finances.

That said, Perkins insists Christian conservatives will back the newest tea party star.  He says “It’s appropriate to acknowledge that the values and character matter. But I think voters have looked at Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, and most of those attacks came from her political opponents… and that's not selling in this cycle. They look at her record, she's explained it.”

Perkins says across the country, people are looking for candidates that will, “Stick to the Constitution, defend it, stand up for the principals that made this country great. That's why the tea party has taken off, that's why social activists have found an ally in the tea party movement."

Perkins wasn’t alone in his confidence about O’Donnell. Several speakers referenced and praised O'Donnell’s win and its importance to Republicans getting the majority in the Senate.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told attendees, "I would beg Mike Castle to endorse Christine O'Donnell because she won fair and square in a process of representation. But let me go a step further, I am going to predict right now, Christine O'Donnell is going to win in Delaware."