In the Arena

Obama’s National Security Strength

  • Share
  • Read Later

A new poll by Democracy Corps gives Barack Obama strong approval on national security issues, traditionally a weakness for Democrats. Yes, the poll was done by the Democrat Stan Greenberg,but it seems well within the range of other polling–indeed, Obama’s overall approval rating, 58%, is lower than many other polls. Furthermore, the poll finds:

By nearly a 2 to 1 margin, Americans say that President Obama is doing better, not worse, than his predecessor, George W. Bush, when it comes to national security.

Well, yeah. But we should not underestimate the significance here: Obama is trying to do something far more complicated and sophisticated than Bush–comprehensive diplomacy takes time and great skill. It doesn’t have the immediate satisfactions of a bang-bang, three-week rush to Baghdad (although the successfully kinetic anti-pirate operation may have something to do with this level of approval).

It is not insignificant that the public seems willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt on such potentially difficult issues as sending more US troops to Afghanistan and trying to start negotiations with Iran. It will be interesting to see if the public remains patience with these policies, which will take years to develop–especially when things go wrong, as they inevitably do. But, for the moment, the American people seem content with a more nuanced foreign policy, which is very good news, indeed.