Sunday, September 7, 2008

McCain Surges on National Security Amid GOP Convention Bounce

Zogby's new survey finds the John McCain/Salin Palin ticket holding a 49.7 to 45.9 percent lead over Barack Obama and Joe Biden in the presidential horse race. The poll was conducted September 5-6, so it clearly captures a post-convention bounce for the Republicans coming out of St. Paul.

While Zogby shows McCain/Palin with a modest lead,
a new survey from Greenberg, Quinlan, and Rosner indicates that the public sees the GOP as much stronger on national security, which could be problematic for the Democrats as the campaign moves forward.

Andrew Malcolm has a report:

Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner has just released a survey that indicates voters perceive Republicans once again as far and away better on national security issues than Democrats.

Forty nine percent of those surveyed thought....

...Republicans were better on national security while 35% thought Democrats better. When it came to combating terrorism, 48% thought Republicans superior to Democrats while 33% gave Democrats the advantage.

It shows voters once again seeing Democrats as following the polls to determine their national security stances and appearing timid to use force in the nation's defense.

This could blossom into a serious problem for the Obama-Biden ticket and down-ballot races -- or opportunity for Republicans -- by Nov. 4.

The presence of Sen. John McCain, a former POW and the only military veteran on either ticket, atop the Republican ballot could be crucial.

According to the Greenberg study's researchers:

"The national security credibility gap is returning. Old doubts about Democrats on security, after diminishing during 2006-2007, have begun to re-emerge:

"concerns that Democrats follow the polls rather than principle;

"that Democrats are indecisive and are afraid to use force;

"and that Democrats don't support the military.

"Because these weaknesses are longstanding and deeply ingrained, and because Republican weaknesses are newer and do not yet have a label associated with them, Republicans continue to win on many security issues."

The Greenberg poll, done for the think tank Third Way, echoes a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll which found a large lead for Republican McCain over his Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama, with McCain holding a 10 point lead over Obama on the question: who would be better on the Iraq war, a 25 point lead on the handling of international crises and a 28 point lead on being better able to handle terrorism.

Results like these in part explain why the Republicans stressed the military and terrorism at their recently completed convention in St. Paul, Minn., a convention which, surprising to some drew a larger telervision audience than the Democratic festivities in Denver the previous week.

At this week's St. Paul events Republicans were clearly trying to run up the score on the Democrats in the national security area with only about eight weeks to go.
These findings are interesting in light of all the attention in the left-wing blosphere and mainstream press to the controversy over Nouri al Maliki's statement in July presuming to endorse Obama's 16-month timeline for withdrawal.

The bottom line from Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner is that the Democrats' decades-long reputation as foreign policy wimps remains a huge liability this year, and it's clear that the public's not easily fooled by fancy speeches and world tours by a
candidate who's been consistently wrong in foreign policy throughout the post-9/11 era.