Monday, January 14, 2008

It's National Security Stupid

Matthew Continetti has a great post in today's NT Times on how the War on Terror may actually be more significant to voters than the current state of the economy. It is a little bit of a creative stretch, but I like the concept, and hope he is correct. Here's an excerpt:

It’s tempting to claim, based on recent polling data, that the central issue in the 2008 presidential election will be the U.S. economy. In the Iowa Republican Caucus entrance poll, more voters chose the economy as the most important issue (26 percent) than the Iraq war (17 percent). And in the Iowa Democratic Caucus entrance poll, the economy and the Iraq war were tied for most-important-issue status, with each drawing 35 percent support.

Things were the same in New Hampshire. According to the New Hampshire Republican primary exit poll, voters in the Republican primary said the economy (31 percent) was more important than Iraq (24 percent). So, too, on the Democratic side, where the economy was king — in that exit poll voters deemed it more important than Iraq, 38 percent to 31 percent.


But the data are misleading. This is still a national security election, at least for Republicans. Here’s why: For some reason, pollsters separate “Iraq” from “terrorism” when they provide respondents with answer choices for the “most important issue” question. Yet, if you add the percentage of voters who choose Iraq as the most important issue to the percentage of voters who choose terrorism as the most important issue, the national security issues are more important than the economy by a stastically significant margin....

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