Foreign policy: A lack of confidence

North Carolina residents express lukewarm confidence at best in the candidates running for the White House this fall, according to the latest Elon University Poll, though incumbent President Barack Obama receives higher marks for handling both domestic and foreign policy issues than his Republican rivals.

Ain’t that the truth!

While Obama inspires more confidence in his ability to handle foreign policy issues, those who say they have little or no confidence in him is about the same — 42% express confidence vs. 43% that don’t. A statistical tie.

It’s much worse with the GOP contenders.

                                           Confident                     Little confidence

Newt Gingrich                   28%                                 51%

Mitt Romney                      24%                                  41%

Rick Santorum                   22%                                  50%

Ron Paul                               18%                                   55%

By far, Romney has the most people who rate him smack in the middle between “not confident” and “great deal of confidence.” Twenty-nine percent of the respondents said basically that when it comes to handling foreign policy, Romney will do OK.

Obama is polling better for three reasons:

1. He has a foreign policy track record. Bin Laden and other terrorists have been killed during his administration. He spoke out during the Arab Spring. And he grabs the headlines when he talks about Iran, Afghanistan and the Middle East. People may not like the positions he takes, but they see how he handles things. Only 2% of the respondents said they didn’t know. (The poll was in the field during the news coverage of Obama’s comment to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev about greater “flexibility” on negotiations regarding missile defense after the election.)

2. On the Republican side, people’s political loyalties are dispersed among the four candidates. Once a nominee is selected, the confidence factor will consolidate. And, as ABC reports, Romney sees opportunity to challenge the president.

3. Obama has visited North Carolina almost as often as a tractor-trailer making the weekly Florida to New York run on I95. Republicans have been busy campaigning elsewhere. North Carolinians want to see and hear candidates in person…or at least read that the candidate has come to their part of the state. 

— John Robinson

2 responses to “Foreign policy: A lack of confidence

  1. Pingback: The GOP sees an opening on foreign policy | Elon University Poll

  2. Pingback: Washington Post/ABC News poll reflects the sentiments of North Carolinians | Elon University Poll

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