ISIS terror threats? Ebola outbreaks? So just to be clear then, we aren’t talking about the 2003 Martin Lawrence classic.
Voters are fickle. Major issues come and go like the seasons. In the winter everyone cared about the job numbers, in the summer it was all about healthcare, and now in the fall its national security. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. When news cycles are bombarded with stories of ISIS gaining strength and Ebola outbreaks, it’s only natural that voters start putting national security on the forefront.
In a recent Politico poll, national security (20%) ranked second only to the Michael Jordan of election issues, the economy (40%). The report goes on by emphasizing that people are taking the threat of ISIS attacking America very seriously (84%) and legitimately concerned whether the national government can contain the Ebola virus from spreading in the US (33%). With midterms only two weeks away, it isn’t hard to see how all this is bleeding into many contested races.
In what looks to be a close senate race in North Carolina, Democrat Incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan and her Republican Challenger Thom Tillis have started battling on issues that deal more with Ebola and less about public schools. In the last few days, it hasn’t been unusual for Tillis to begin local rallies with his views on Ebola and ISIS terrorist attacks. While originally Sen. Hagan was making a very convincing argument that a change in delegate would create a sharp conservative turn in local policy which many voters wouldn’t be comfortable with, Tillis has started to frame the senate race into one of national security, which Sen. Hagan is politically weaker in. Tillis’ attempts in trying to connect Sen. Hagan with policies from the Obama Administration have worked relatively well thus far, bridging the gap between Tillis and Sen. Hagan in the polls. Yet North Carolina isn’t the only race that this is happening in.
Many races across the US have Republicans framing races in terms of national security. Based on the data, President Obama’s approval rating is at an all-time low, so connecting Democrats’ national security policy to the Obama Administration’s is a smart move. The only question now lies whether voters care enough to make national security “the issue” in these midterms.
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