CHANGE WE'RE NOT BELIEVING IN – AT 8:58 A.M. ET: We've all seen these polls taken around the world in which people are asked their opinion of the United States. Some Americans obsess over them, far too much in my view.
But now comes a unique poll of Americans, asking what they think America's reputation is in other countries. The results, reported by the Washington Times, are stunning, on this and other national-security issues:
A majority of Americans say the United States is less respected in the world than it was two years ago and think President Obama and other Democrats fall short of Republicans on the issue of national security, a new poll finds.
The Democracy Corps-Third Way survey released Monday finds that by a 10-point margin -- 51 percent to 41 percent -- Americans think the standing of the U.S. dropped during the first 13 months of Mr. Obama's presidency.
"This is surprising, given the global acclaim and Nobel peace prize that flowed to the new president after he took office," said pollsters for the liberal-leaning organizations.
Not surprising. Americans have great common sense, and realize that you lose respect when you project weakness.
On the national security front, a massive gap has emerged, with 50 percent of likely voters saying Republicans would likely do a better job than Democrats, a 14-point swing since May. Thirty-three percent favored Democrats.
"The erosion since May is especially strong among women, and among independents, who now favor Republicans on this question by a 56 to 20 percent margin," the pollsters said in their findings.
The Democrats' gap on national security has widened on several other fronts:
• "Keeping America safe": Democrats now trail by 13 points (34 percent to 47 percent.) The gap was just 5 points in July 2008.
• "Ensuring a strong military": Democrats trail by 31 points (27 percent to 58 percent.)
• "Making America safer from nuclear threats": Democrats trail by 11 points (34 percent to 45 percent,) "despite the president's strong actions and speeches on steps to reduce nuclear dangers," the pollsters said.
The poll, conducted late last month, found "the administration's response to the Christmas Day terrorist attempt has contributed to the erosion."
COMMENT: There was a time when, as the saying went, "politics stops at the water's edge." That time is long past. Republicans should not hesitate to exploit their advantage on national-security, always taking care not to carry it to excess.
March 9, 2010