Leadership: December 7, 2002


: New polls taken by the Gallup organization since the elections show that:

@ Less than half of Americans think the Democrats are tough enough on terrorism; only a few percent think Republicans are not tough enough.

@ Less than half of Americans think that the Democrats would move the country in the right direction or view them favorably. (Normally, about 55-60 percent of voters view each party favorably, but recent events have pushed the Democratic totals below 50% for the first time in years.)

@ More Americans are dissatisfied with the Democratic Party's ideology than agree with it.

@ Fewer than a third of Americans think the Democratic Party has a clear plan to solve the problems of the country.

Republicans cheer the polls as showing that Americans have finally learned they were right all along. What the polls really show is that the central portion of the American electorate (which shifts positions with the political wind) is behind the war on terror, is "going with a winner" (in the recent elections), and supports the intended war with Iraq. Whether these "swing" voters will stay in place should the war go badly is an open question.--Stephen V Cole


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