As the Mideast threatens to ignite yet again, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll
shows that President Barack Obama has made inroads into the traditional Republican stronghold of defense against terrorism.
While Obama’s numbers are not as strong as previous GOP presidential candidates and could be lowered by recent developments in the Mideast and U.S. relations with Israel, they do represent a reversal of fortune for Democrats long tarred as weak on defense.
The poll found that the public, by a margin of 51 to 40 percent, trusts Obama over GOP challenger Mitt Romney to handle terrorism. At this point in the election cycle four and eight years ago, John McCain and George W. Bush both had 20-point advantages on the issue over Democratic challengers, the Post
The poll was conducted before news of the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in an assault on the American consulate in Benghazi. In response, Obama has sent two Marine Corps anti-terrorism security teams to Libya and ordered an increase in security at U.S. embassies around the world.
The poll also was conducted before the contretemps over Obama’s reported refusal to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he attends the United Nations General Assembly later this month.
Regardless, Obama has not shied away from the war on terrorism, ordering the assault that killed Osama bin Laden and, to the dismay of some on the left, using drones to strike al-Qaida targets throughout the Mideast.
Other results from the poll, posted online by ABC News, show that following the Democratic National Convention, Obama favorability ratings are back in the positive range.
Obama is now viewed favorably by 52 percent and unfavorably by 45 percent. Romney’s numbers remain in the negative range at 44 to 49 percent. ABC noted that Romney has been underwater in this category in 12 out of 14 polls this year.
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