As the general election gets fully under way and most polls show the presidential race remains close, an analysis by a Democratic pollster and party advocacy group released late last week found the party's "national security credibility gap is returning." "Old doubts about Democrats on security, after diminishing during 2006-2007, have begun to re-emerge," said a memorandum based on findings by Democratic pollster and strategist Stan Greenberg for Third Way, centrist-leaning Democratic issue advocacy organization.
"Some of this re-emerging gap on national security is about the Democratic standard-bearer, Barack Obama. Voters know John McCain is a military man, but are still learning about how Obama's background has prepared him to be Commander-in-Chief," the Washington Times quoted the memo, as saying.
But the memo also added that "Democrats down the ballot would be seriously mistaken to believe" that he was solely to blame. The national security gap extended to the party at large, the memo said.
The study, based on polls and focus groups in key battleground states, found concerns that Democrats follow the polls rather than principle; that Democrats are indecisive and are afraid to use force; and that Democrats don't support the military.
"Republicans continue to win on many security issues. Indeed, in a year that could not be more favorable to Democrats, the public still decisively favors Republicans to keep the country safe," warns the Greenberg/Third Way analysis.
A sizable 'trust gap' emerges when voters are asked which party would better protect the country, the memo says. On which party will better handle national security issues, Republicans lead by 14 points, 49 percent to 35 percent.
On who would better combat terrorism, Republicans lead by 15 points, 48 percent to 33 percent, the study notes.