A new Pew poll shows interesting results, namely that ?[f]or the first time in decades, foreign affairs and national security issues are emerging in the final months of the U.S. presidential campaign as greater concerns among American voters than economic matters.?
The results are a mixed blessing for both presidential candidates. Said Walter Mead of the Council on Foreign Relations: ?Both pro- and anti-Bush voters agree that foreign policy is very important.? Americans give Bush higher marks on the war on terror, but ?Kerry has a lead when you ask which is better on foreign policy ? Supporters of both candidates can find both encouragement and grounds for concern in the study.?
The poll also, and disappointingly, confirms that most Americans don?t give a hoot about democracy in the Middle East. While the story linked above (from the International Herald Tribune) does not have the relevant passage, an earlier version in the hardcopy version I read observed: ?Low on the list of foreign policy priorities was Bush?s goal of promoting democracy in the Middle East, which appears to have little traction; it was listed by one in four Americans, unchanged since October 2001.
Reason contributing editor Matt Welch could have told Pew long ago that foreign policy was important this election year; he lamented its absence during the Democratic Party convention in this opinion piece written for Lebanon?s Daily Star.