The strong reaction from the business community, and most of the media, about the Indiana "freedom" bill has put GOP presidential candidates in a difficult position. Most of the candidates came out in support of the bill even while the Indiana Governor, who was surprised by the negative reaction to the bill, promised to change the bill. They understand the the coming primary elections will determine the GOP presidential candidate. The primary elections are different from the general election that will take place in 2016. The turnout for the primary elections attracts the most conservative part of the GOP base which is sympathetic to the "freedom" bill. Even those without strong religious beliefs oppose gay rights. The majority of voters in the general election, especially those under age 30, have become supporters of gay rights. The GOP presidential candidate must win 65% of the white vote in order to win the general election. That has only occurred once in American history. The GOP position on gay rights, and minority rights in general, may even offend a significant portion of white males.
Popular opinion in the US about the rights of gays and minorities has become much more accepting over the last few decades. A substantial portion of the conservative base in the US is less representative of the general population. Curiously, their views are much closer to popular opinion, and government policies in many Eastern European countries, and in many Islamic nations that are not popular with American conservatives.