Increasing fears of terrorism are giving Donald Trump’s poll numbers among GOP primary voters a big boost, the New York Times reports:
Americans are more fearful about the likelihood of another terrorist attack than at any other time since the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, a gnawing sense of dread that has helped lift Donald J. Trump to a new high among Republican primary voters, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
In the aftermath of attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris and in San Bernardino, Calif., a plurality of the public views the threat of terrorism as the top issue facing the country. A month ago, only 4 percent of Americans said terrorism was the most important problem; now, 19 percent say it is, above any other issue.
Mr. Trump, who has called for monitoring mosques and even barring Muslims from entering the United States, has been the clear beneficiary of this moment of deep anxiety. More than four in 10 Republican primary voters say the most important quality in a candidate is strong leadership, which eclipses honesty, empathy, experience or electability. These voters heavily favor Mr. Trump.
The survey was largely conducted before Mr. Trump’s proposal, announced Monday, to temporarily block Muslims from entering the country.
This shows you what assertions (without any specificity except keeping anyone with a Muslim name from entering the country) can do in 21st century American politics:
“He’ll keep a sharp eye on those Muslims,” Bettina Norden, 60, a farmer in Springfield, Ore., said in a follow-up interview. “He’ll keep the Patriot Act together. He’ll watch immigration. Stop the Muslims from immigrating.”
All because he says so (details shmetails…)
Republicans expressed confidence in Mr. Trump’s ability to confront terrorism: Seven in 10 voters who said they were likely to vote in a Republican primary said he was well equipped to respond to the threat, with four in 10 “very confident” he could handle terrorism. Only Senator Ted Cruz of Texas comes close to those numbers.
However, not only GOPers are worried about national security:
But it is not only Republicans feeling renewed fear about terrorist strikes on American soil. Forty-four percent of the public says an attack is “very” likely to happen in the next few months, the most in Times or CBS News polls since October 2001, just after the deadliest terrorist assault in the country’s history. Seven in 10 Americans now call the Islamic State extremist group a major threat to the United States’ security, the highest level since the Times/CBS News poll began asking the question last year.
What this means is 1)the Republican Party is on its way to becoming the favorite again for many Americans in times when they feel the national is threatened 2)if there is an attack before the election it will be a major problem for Hillary Clinton, who will be painted as an extension of the Obama administration, which will be blamed by GOPers for not doing enough to prevent a future attack. Presumably Clinton has a terrorism prevention game plan offering specificity to differentiate herself from the administration in case this takes place.
But you know what they say about “assume” (“Assume makes and ass of u and me.”)
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.