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Survey: National Security Worries Voters More Than Economy

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 05:49 PM

Voters are more worried about national security than the economy — a trend that could spell trouble for Democratic candidates in looming elections, the National Journal reports.

An internal survey by the Republican firm OnMessage finds 22 percent of voters ranked security issues first on a list of top priorities, 14 percent listed fiscal responsibility, and 13 percent picked economic growth, the Journal reports.

The poll was taken late last month for the Republican super-PAC American Action Network, a John Boehner-linked group that poured big money into House Republican campaigns last election. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

Other surveys have found similar sentiments. For example, a New York Times/CBS survey last fall showed more voters trust Republicans than Democrats on the issues of terrorism and foreign policy.

More recently, two Pew Research Center surveys have highlighted just how important national security has become for the American public.

In one February poll, Pew found that for the first time in five years, voters saw defending the nation against terrorism as being as important a policy priority as the economy, while a separate survey showed voters trust Republicans more than Democrats to handle foreign policy.

"It really started before the [2014] election, as ISIS and their conquest really took center stage … probably about midsummer, we started noticing that concerns about foreign affairs and defense were popping up," Wes Anderson, a Republican pollster who conducted the survey, told the National Journal. "Honestly, we haven't seen that since 2004 in any real significance. [It was present] in 2006, but obviously in a very negative way for Republicans."

Anderson said Hillary Clinton should be worried.

"If a bunch of those swing, often suburban, soft partisan or independent women are becoming more concerned about security issues, what does that do to [Clinton's] ability to drive the gender splits they enjoyed in 2012?" Anderson added. "So, there's the big question. As foreign affairs and security issues grow, does this put a real wrench in their ability to drive a gender gap?"

Yet Anderson told the National Journal that doesn't mean voters are any less anxious about the economy.

"The question is not whether the economy is going to fade as an issue, it's whether other issues like foreign affairs or defense are going to surge," he told the Journal. "We're seeing evidence that a trend is building there, and it's all built around fear over the insecurity and chaos around the world right now, and if that just continues and some bad things happen, then it may become a voter determinative issue for a lot of voters in 2016."

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Voters are more worried about national security than the economy — a trend that could spell trouble for Democratic candidates in looming elections, the National Journal reports.
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2015-49-15
Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 05:49 PM
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