Nearly 70 percent of Americans say they lack confidence that the U.S. will achieve its goals in fighting the terrorist group ISIS, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll. The findings come in the wake of President Barack Obama’s national address announcing new measures to combat the Sunni militants.
Pressure is mounting on the U.S. and its allies to cripple the militants, who have waged a brutal campaign across Syria and Iraq. ISIS already has beheaded two American journalists and on Saturday released a video showing the execution of a third Westerner, British aid worker David Haines.At The Wall Street Journal, Janet Hook reports on an earlier poll:
The poll – conducted before the latest execution emerged – showed that a combined 68 percent of Americans say they have “very little” or “just some” confidence that Obama’s goals of degrading and eliminating the threat posed by ISIS will be achieved. Just 28 percent said they had “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of confidence. Still, 62 percent of voters say they support Obama’s decision to take action against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, while 22 percent oppose it.
Democrats have a lot to worry about in the midterm elections but one of their sturdiest bulwarks against a GOP rout in the fall has been support among women. They have held significant leads over Republicans among women by a number of polling measures.
But the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll has some warning signs for Democrats who are counting on women to help them weather a tough political climate.
An important bellwether is the question of which party voters would prefer to control Congress, and it has long been the case that men prefer a Republican Congress and women favor a Democratic Congress.
But the poll conducted Sept. 3-7 found that women’s Democratic preference had shrunk to a 47%-40% margin — down from 51% -37% a month earlier. The swing was especially sharp among white women, who gave Democrats a 4 point edge in August; in the new poll, Republicans enjoyed 48%-40% advantage.
It is hard to assess what accounts for that shift but, if it proves a durable trend, the stakes are high. GOP pollster Bill McInturff said that maintaining support among women is critical for Democrats in the midterm elections, or else “a difficult cycle becomes a really terrible cycle for Democrats.”Jay Cost has more on the earlier NBC poll:
Breaking it down by issues, we can see why Republicans are in better shape. They are more trusted on the more salient issues. Democrats have a net advantage of 28 points on who is better “looking out for the interests of women,” where 45 percent say Democrats and 17 percent say Republicans. They have a 27 point advantage on the environment, and a 15 point edge on abortion. On health care, they have an 8 point edge, which is close to their lowest advantage since 1991. But that is it for Democrats. On taxes (R+4), immigration (R+7), economy (R+10), foreign policy (R+18), the deficit (R+18) and a strong national defense (R+38), the GOP has the edge. Moreover, this advantage has either stayed the same or expanded in the last month. And on every one of these metric the party is improved from a year ago, often substantially so.
The immigration item is of most interest to me. Democrats are not dummies. There was a good reason they did not pass a comprehensive reform bill when they had complete control of government back in 2009-2010. The reality is that wide swaths of any such bill are bound to be unpopular. Once you satisfy the “stakeholders” (Obamaspeak for: interest groups that have purchased undue access to policymakers), you wind up with a rotten piece of sausage that John Q. Public does not want to eat. This is why Democrats need Republicans -- as cover on the issue. They thought they had it a year ago, and when it looked like the GOP might give in, the public favored Democrats on immigration by four points last September, 30-26. But Republicans like Jeff Sessions have been arguing passionately and effectively about how it is a bad deal for the working class (regardless of race or ethnicity), and lo and behold the issue has flipped from a year ago, to a 35-28 advantage for the GOP.