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Do You Think the Economy Is More Important Than Terrorism?

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?


Join The Conversation
Michaelrcks Michaelrcks 9 years
Equally important.
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 9 years
Well, if the security efforts ARE working, then that's lovely. Now let's take a break from that and try to HELP people in our own country that are living from hand to mouth, who need to go to the doctor for check-ups and preventative care, as opposed to dealing with it years down the line when we all have to pay out of our own pockets for people with serious illnesses that could have been prevented. And help the people who have no insurance and have to reduce their income to poverty level to get Medicare for themselves and their sick kids or the elderly. Priorities, priorities-- we need to help our own. That is one of the major goals of terrorists: interrupt our everyday lives. Well I sure as heck think that that can translate into our own people losing out on government-funded help that they desperately need because millions of unnecessary dollar that are going towards "fighting the war on terror".
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
cordata, it's difficult for me to second-guess the government's priorities because I don't have all the information they do. As for the effective use of funds, I agree, if they would spend *more* I believe the job would be done more effectively and sooner. A half-hearted commitment will only get you a half-way result. As for scaring people, we're all grown-ups, sometimes we just have to face reality. There have been news stories recently, although not big headlines, about how the economy is not as bad as the media lead us to believe. Personally, I think gearing up production of military equipment might stimulate the economy. We could handle both situations at the same time.
cordata cordata 9 years
I think when it comes to fighting terrorism the government isn't prioritizing or using money effectively. Instead they've upset and scared a lot of people. It's important to keep the country safe but I think there are better ways to go about it. I know, easier said than done, but it's still important that people actually say that the current methods aren't working. Accepting the status quo won't get anyone anywhere. Focusing on solutions to the economic downturn seems more manageable than thinking about ending terrorism, like there could be a more tangible, positive outcome within a year or so. There's a global recession right now ... I don't know who isn't worried about the economy.
lovelie lovelie 9 years
I think people take for granted that we haven't had another terrorist attack. I've had this discussion with some of my colleagues who feel that the "war on terrorism" is nothing but a big smoke-screen for our continued presence in Iraq. In which case, I don't bother arguing with them, instead I simply ask them when was the last known terrorist attack on US grounds?
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Syako: I'll join you in that latte! (it's Monday....) I was thinking about this some more on my drive to work, and I suspect our points of view depend on where we live. Personally, I live about 20 minutes from Los Angeles International Airport. If that was hit, or any of the major freeway interchanges near me, it would seriously impact my daily existence. If I lived in Denver, or Indianapolis, or Houston--the risk would be much smaller. cordata: We haven't been hit again, so have you considered that maybe it's working?
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
So, cordata, do you think it's not important to fight terrorism or that we should fight terrorism in different ways?
cordata cordata 9 years
Terrorism so far has been fought with the Patriot Act invading personal privacy and airport fees where passengers are actually paying to take their shoes off and have their luggage rifled through. The fight against terrorism is an expensive joke that hurts everyday Americans more than it prevents attacks.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Terrorism is a bigger issue for me personally; fighting terrorism does not necessarily have to do with the current war in Iraq. I do think it's more difficult to fight terrorism. While our government has little control over either (terrorism/the economy) I think more can be done by the government to help the economic problems. So, while terrorism is more important to me personally (like Laine said, I'd rather be poor and alive), I think it's a more difficult platform to get elected on. On a side note, the war is not the main catalyst for the weak economy, in my opinion. I think the economic community has pretty much come to a consensus that the sub prime mortgage disaster has had much more of an effect on our country's current economic state. The war is not generally seen as the main catalyst for high gas prices, either.
syako syako 9 years
well, Lain, I'd rather a $2.50 latte. personally. ;) :P
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Wow. Snowbunny: There was credible international intelligence at the time (although much of it was later found inaccurate) indicating that Hussein had WMDs and that he was hosting terrorist training camps for profit. Stephley: No, that was not what I meant, or I would have said so. Actually, my memory fails, it was just this past year. awesomeness: who says the threat is/was "greatly exaggerated"? Just because it hasn't happened (yet) does not mean it is not an ongoing, credible threat. It may well mean that our defense efforts have been successful. Times are tight for me, too, and I have a family manage, also. However, I'd rather be broke and alive than the reverse. Priorities , people, priorities. :oy:
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 9 years
Yes, I do. For one thing. the current administration greatly over-emphasized the potential for another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. And everyone is affected by the economy having gone down the toilet. People working in every industry and of every socio-economic status have been affected in one way or another, albeit to varying degrees. When it comes down to it, for a lot of people the most worrisome thing in their daily lives is: buy meds or food? and not 'I hope they have bomb-sniffing dogs, metal detectors, and security cameras everywhere'.
stephley stephley 9 years
"Don't you all remember a couple of years ago, when there were confirmed, credible threats of bombings at a couple of major shopping centers around Christmas?" If you mean the threat that also led the French to stop a couple of flights on Christmas Eve '02, by the first week of January those were shown to be not as credible as Homeland Security claimed. France's counter-terrorism experts had problems with U.S. handling: "We [French police investigators] showed [on 23 December] that their arguments simply did not make sense, but despite this the flights were cancelled... The main suspect [a Tunisian hijacker] turned out to be a child… We really had the feeling of unfriendly treatment [by US officials] (ils nous appliquent un traitement d'infamie). The information was not transmitted through normal channels. It wasn't the FBI or the CIA which contacted us, everything went through diplomatic channels..." Le Monde, January 2003
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
I think it's really difficult to pretend that this war was in response to the 9/11 attacks and is supposed to be stopping terrorism. There was no evidence that Iraq funded the terrorists (tho there is evidence that Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan did) and since the war has been started there has indeed been a measured increase in the experience and number of terrorists. "Because we're fighting then on their own territory." Who exactly are we fighting on their own territory? We are in the middle of a civil war. The terrorists we're fighting in Iraq are fighting for the control of their country, and would not necessarily be fighting against the Americans if they weren't there. I'm not saying they're good people, but no, I don't feel safer because we are taking out terrorists in Iraq. These are not the same people who bombed the trade towers. It's not like they have some Terrorists' Club, where every terrorist from members of the NRA to Al Quaeda. I honestly think you would find very few people today who would seriously say this war has helped remove the terrorist threat. It's not like we've even captured bin Laden yet, the terrorist RESPONSIBLE for the 9/11 attacks, and it's been over 7 years! The people who think this war is alleviating terrorism are simply buying into the idea that guns + troops, so long as someone is getting shot is going to help us. But terrorism is a far more insidious threat! This is the reason I think the economy is a more appealing issue for politicians to get behind. I can see how the government might positively influence the economy, however, it is very hard for me to see how we can positively get the terrorists. I did mention strengthening our national defenses and improving our intelligence community, however I think it would be very a very hard issue for politicians to promise anything on. Not all people who think this war is an inefficient means for combating terrorism are terrorist-loving liberals. I just can recognize that it hasn't done much good.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
michelin, you really said it all. The economy is a more immediate concern for many of us, but that's because we haven't had a major attack since 9/11. Why do you think that is? Because we're fighting then on their own territory. You can't say the war hasn't alleviated terrorism. And when people are already "angry", how can you measure what would be "angrier"? Personally, I'd rather not get a COLA increase this year--which is what I expect--and know that I can go to the mall without the threat of being bombed. Don't you all remember a couple of years ago, when there were confirmed, credible threats of bombings at a couple of major shopping centers around Christmas? Maybe that was only Los Angeles, but wow, how short are our memories....
BeautyXRush BeautyXRush 9 years
I'm far more worried about the state of the economy than terrorism.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
We'll since economics and terrorism are capable of bringing out the worst in each other because of the other I'd say they're equals.
janneth janneth 9 years
"Mostly, it's just made terrorists even "angrier" with us." -Amen.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
I just have difficulty picturing exactly how we're "fighting terrorism." I don't think the huge war we undertook has alleviated terrorism in the least. Mostly, it's just made terrorists even "angrier" with us. I think building up our national defenses and the intelligence community, so we can try to keep abreast of what is going on is important, but I would think it would be hard to say terrorism is your issue because how exactly would you fight it? The economy on the other hand effects everyone on a day to day basis. I think it's easier to make the economy your issue.
runnergeek runnergeek 9 years
the US economy is in pathetic shape. the dollar is practically worthless. it gets worse every time i listen to the news. how many times can they say 'the dollar hit a new low against the euro/yen/every other currency on the planet'..its time to wake up and fix our domestic problems.
janneth janneth 9 years
People are hurting. Job cuts, gas prices, food issues, foreclosures. It IS the economy, which as many of you already said, has been ruined by the war.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
"keeping looting"? What the hell does that mean?
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
Osama Bin Laden said he doesn't need to defeat us militarily, just economically. Hey, as long as Bush and friends keeping looting our treasure with a war on nothing, Obama might actually win.
blondie01 blondie01 9 years
so true michelin
stephley stephley 9 years
real purty.
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