To the extent terror incidents like the horrific bombings in Brussels keep voters focused on national security, it could give Donald Trump a decided advantage over Hillary Clinton in a projected November match-up.
That conclusion comes from a Newsmax/Fabrizio, Lee & Associates online survey of 1,500 voters.
Overall, the survey showed Clinton leading Trump by a razor-thin margin of 45 to 44 percent in a poll with a 2.5 percent margin of error.
But when voters were asked which candidate would be better suited to keep America safe, they gave Trump a commanding advantage despite Clinton's presumed expertise on the international scene after four years as secretary of state.
By a 37 to 27 percent margin, voters said Trump is better suited than Clinton to keep the United States safe from terrorists. Trump also won – 40 to 32 percent – on the question of which candidate would do the best job "of standing up to" China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
Pollster Tony Fabrizio, a veteran of four presidential campaigns and co-founder and partner of the firm that conducted the survey, told Newsmax: "The Clinton people should be quite alarmed that after four years as the secretary of state, Clinton trails Trump on standing up to our enemies and protecting America from terrorism."
Trump's advantage on national security is even more pronounced among voters who designate "terrorism and homeland security" as their No. 1 issue. These voters see Trump as more capable than Clinton by a huge 51 percent to 19 percent margin.
Trump also enjoys an advantage on an issue often seen as strongly linked to national security: Combatting illegal immigration and getting control of the porous southern border.
"Mr. Trump's strong rhetoric on combatting illegal immigration has also paid dividends," Fabrizio stated in a memo that accompanied the poll results. Fabrizio is a nationally recognized opinion expert, pollster, and strategist.
When voters were asked to choose which candidate would be better able to solve the illegal immigration problem, Trump led Clinton by a 41 to 26 percent.
But a closer look at the survey suggests Trump's advantage on the issue is even greater.
Among voters who cite U.S. immigration policy as a reason why they believe the country is on the wrong track, Trump is seen as more capable to address the issue by a staggering 79 to 5 percent margin. So to the extent the campaign focuses on national security, immigration, and the war on terror, Trump has the advantage.
Clinton has a clear advantage on personal characteristics, however. She enjoys a 19 point margin when voters are asked to identify which one has more relevant experience. She has a 16 percent edge when voters are asked to choose which candidate has the right presidential temperament. And on which candidate would be better positioned to heal the country's racial divisions, voters pick Clinton by a 37-percent to 18-percent margin.
The survey asked voters for their preferences in a hypothetical November match-up between the two candidates. GOP Sen. Ted Cruz's success Tuesday in winning Utah by over 50 percent of the vote, and Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders' victories in Idaho and Utah, suggest both Trump and Clinton could face extended primary-season challenges.
But if terror attacks remain in the headlines, Trump would appear likely to benefit.
As Fabrizio told Newsmax: "The notion that a 'foreign policy/ national security' election would benefit Clinton, given her chops, clearly is not evident in these results."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.