Even as the mortgage meltdown, the credit crunch, and the threat of recession dominate the headlines, the 2008 race for the presidency continues to turn in important ways on Iraq and other national security issues. Indeed, Democracy Corps’ fourth major poll focusing on national security suggests that these issues will play a pivotal role in determining the outcome of the voting in November, just as they have over the past three election cycles. The new findings point to major challenges and opportunities for the Democrats in both the presidential and congressional contests as candidates present their case to the public.

In their comprehensive analysis of the survey, Stan Greenberg, Jeremy Rosner, and James Carville highlight seven imperatives for Democrats to pursue as they wage the debate over national security in the coming months, including going on offense on national security, showing Senator McCain's policies to be a continuation of the failed Bush policies, and stressing Iraq and America's dependence on foreign oil.

Key Findings

  • When it comes to “soft power” - matters of diplomacy, the promotion of democracy, and human rights and how America is viewed in the world - voters says Democrats do a better job than Republicans. On the issue of foreign policy, Democrats lead the GOP by a margin of 11 points, 47 to 36 percent; on “striking the balance between foreign and domestic issues” Democrats also hold a strong 21- point margin, 53 to 32 percent.
  • On “hard security” issues - national security, protection of citizens and the war on terror - Democrats achieve near parity in areas that were once considered out-of-reach. While the Democratic Party still continues to trail on “national security” (39 to 45 percent) and “protecting America and its people” (38 to 44 percent), the deficits over five years on these questions has drastically narrowed and has altogether stabilized in some cases.


This survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Democracy Corps. The survey fielded March 25-27, 2008.

To read more coverage on the poll, please click here.