NPR Survey: Republicans Lose Ground on Foreign Policy, National Security; Opportunity for Democrats


NPR’s first national survey for 2006 finds Republicans losing their stranglehold on national security and foreign policy and shows Democrats have a unique opportunity to get heard on keeping America safe.

Powerful global events in the news, including the growing sectarian violence in Iraq, the president’s trip to India and Pakistan and the resulting attention to globalization, foreign policy, and terrorism, the explosive Dubai Ports World deal and its implications for homeland security, and the potential nuclear threat in Iran are impacting the US electorate and weighing on voters’ minds in this midterm election year.

Survey Highlights:

  • Powerful global events have had a real impact the American electorate and provided Democrats with a unique opportunity to get heard on the issues of foreign policy and national security where Republicans have long dominated.
  • Democrats win every security debate in this poll and when voters are asked who they trust more on issues including the Iraq war, foreign ownership of US ports, and homeland security issues, Democrats come out on top. The only exception is the nuclear threat in Iran, where Republicans have a narrow 5 point advantage.
  • These results are a reflection of Bush’s collapse and the growing determination of Americans to vote for change. There has been a tectonic shift in the electorate with two thirds of the country now wanting to move in a new direction. Bush’s approval stands at 39 percent. 58 percent disapprove of his performance, and 45 percent of America disapproves strongly.
  • Democrats have an historic 15 point advantage (52 to 37 percent) in the generic congressional vote, the result of an emerging trend over the last 7 months and serious conclusions drawn about President Bush, the war in Iraq, and the economy.
  • These results are brought about by independents including mainline Protestants, Catholics, and Baby-Boom college voters moving away from the Republicans and by a crash in key parts of the Republican base. The parties are now running even in the white rural counties and in the counties carried by Bush in 2004. Older blue collar voters - most impacted by the changing economy, and least interested in foreign spending and foreign ownership of American ports - have pulled away from the Republicans.
  • It has not received as much attention in a week where issues as dramatic as the possible outbreak of religious violence in Iraq, the Dubai Ports World deal, and the growing nuclear threat in Iran were playing out in the news, but it was globalization and outsourcing that emerged as the issue concerning Americans the most. On this issue, Democrats are trusted by the public by 23 points over the Republicans (57 to 34 percent).

Methodology
This survey of 800 likely voters for National Public Radio was conducted by Stan Greenberg (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner) and Glen Bolger (Public Opinion Strategies) between March 12 and 14, 2006. The highlights are solely the product of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and are not meant to represent the views of Public Opinion Strategies or of National Public Radio.

Key Findings

  • Powerful events have had an impact the American electorate and provided Democrats with a unique opportunity to get heard on the issues of foreign policy and national security.
  • These results are a reflection of Bush’s collapse and the growing determination of Americans to vote for change. Bush’s approval stands at 39 percent. 58 percent disapprove of his performance, and 45 percent of America disapproves strongly.
  • Democrats have an historic 15 point advantage (52 to 37 percent) in the generic congressional vote, the result of an emerging trend over the last 7 months and serious conclusions drawn about President Bush, the war in Iraq, and the economy.

"...in this poll, when asked which party they trust more on issues such as the Iraq war, foreign ownership of U.S. ports and attention to homeland security, majorities chose the Democrats."

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