More Americans care about a presidential candidate's ability to address the economy than the candidate's ability to confront terrorism. A new Gallup poll asked respondents whether they would be more likely to choose a candidate whose greatest strength is fixing the economy or a candidate whose greatest strength is protecting the country from terrorism.
Fifty-six percent chose the economically-strong candidate, compared to 39 percent who chose the candidate who is best at protecting America from terrorism. Despite these numbers, McCain's senior adviser Charlie Black thinks McCain's perceived strength on national security could help him win — he said a terrorist attack on US soil would be be a "big advantage" for his candidate. Perhaps Black thinks Americans would quickly move fighting terrorism to the top of their priority list, but it's still unclear how a nightmare like an attack would play out politically, something I don't want to hypothesize.
Right now, what do you want to be a candidate's top strength: improving the economy, or fighting terrorism?