Thursday, September 21, 2006

Security Issue Helping GOP in November Elections

Donald Lambro's got a piece up today at the Washington Times arguing that terror-related security issues are helping the GOP heading into the November elections:

President Bush and his party seem to be succeeding in their efforts to define the strategic security issues that will likely decide the outcome of the 2006 midterm elections.

Nowhere is this more apparent than Mr. Bush's campaign offensive to warn Americans of the still-potent dangers of yet another terrorist attack on the United States and his implicit claim Republicans are far better able to deal with that threat than the left-wing, antiwar leaders in the Democratic Party.

That offensive has moved the numbers in the GOP's direction, with the help of Democratic leaders whose national security agenda, such as it is, seems to oppose every antiterrorism program of Mr. Bush's in the ensuing war on terrorism:

Reauthorization of the Patriot Act, the electronic surveillance efforts to intercept terrorist calls into the U.S., and now the tough, but also humane, interrogation practices that have foiled numerous terrorist plots against us. Like the Democrats, Mr. Bush and the Republicans are trying to nationalize this election, too, but the contrast between how the two major parties look at the terrorism issue could not be sharper or more alarming.

Moreover, the available evidence suggests the GOP is doing a more effective job, according to a recent survey of voters by independent pollster John Zogby.

Significantly, Mr. Zogby found "voters planning on casting ballots for Republicans are more likely than those voting for Democrats to say they are casting their ballot based on national issues by a 79 percent to 69 percent margin...."

As we headed into Labor Day, top election forecasters were predicting that an anti-Bush, anti-Republican wave would sweep the Democrats back into majority control of the House. But, after studying his numbers coming in from the states, Mr. Zogby told me: "I don't see the landslide that others are seeing. That doesn't mean it can't materialize, but as of today it's not happening and this is September."

Meantime, the president intends to campaign hard for his party over the next month and a half, perhaps two-dozen House seats once targeted by the Democrats are now out of play, and there are growing doubts the Democrats have what it takes to regain power.

"I'm reluctant to predict a Democratic takeover because I appreciate the Republicans' success," elections analyst Rhodes Cook told me this week. "They know how to win of late and the Democrats don't."

today's Los Angeles Times includes the paper's most recent polling results, which confirm an upward survey trend for the GOP heading into November, although Ronald Brownstein argues that historical election patterns may well be on the Democratic Party's side.

See also
my earlier post on Bush's improving numbers from the recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

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