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Political Insiders Poll

On balance, will President Obama’s foreign-policy résumé help or hurt his reelection efforts?

Democrats (95 votes)

Help a lot: 34%
Help: 58%
No effect: 8%
Hurt: 0%
Hurt a lot: 0%


Help a lot

“Ending wars, rebuilding America’s reputation, and reasserting our global leadership position are accomplishments he, and we, can be proud of.”

“He killed bin Laden; the GOP risks looking extremely shrill by trying to undermine the president’s national-security and foreign-policy credentials. They could hardly have a worse messenger than Mitt
as their nominee in a matchup against Obama on that front.”


“No one else can say they killed Osama bin Laden and got us out of Iraq.”

“Four words: Osama bin Laden dead.”

“Foreign policy and defense issues are typically a Democratic weakness. The fact that this president tracked down Osama, wound down the war in Iraq, and has a plan to keep up the pressure as needed in Afghanistan and Iran makes these issues a Democratic strength, and not a weakness. Mitt may be a successful business guy who likes to fire people, but Barack is a wartime president who’s getting the job done.”

“Killing bin Laden. Nothing else matters in comparison.”



“He killed bin Laden and ended the Iraq war, as he promised. Did I mention that he killed bin Laden?”

“There’s a natural advantage here for any incumbent president—Obama has a legitimate case that he has navigated some incredibly choppy waters as well as any president could have been expected
to do.”

“For the first time in a generation, a Democrat can run on—and not from—security and foreign policy.”


On balance, will President Obama’s foreign-policy résumé help or hurt his reelection efforts?

Republicans (94 votes)

Help a lot: 1%
Help: 27%
No effect: 38%
Hurt: 28%
Hurt a lot: 6%


“One of the more interesting surprises of the election, given his lack of experience in this area at the outset of his term.”

“Three words: Offed bin Laden. Shows results, though not a game-changer for his election prospects.”

“In spite of partisan criticism, Obama’s foreign policy under Hillary [Rodham] Clinton is one of the bright spots of his administration and should help him. However, unless there is a foreign crisis around the election, foreign policy will not be the focus of this race.”

No effect

“Reelection politics start and end at home. This race will be decided on jobs and how people feel about their personal financial security.”

“Obama’s foreign policy is a Rorschach test: Voters see what they want to see. He’s either deft or feckless, whichever you already supposed.”

“Frankly, the Osama bin Laden accomplishment will erase a lot of foreign-policy mishaps, so it evens things out. For first time, national security will not be a big GOP edge.”


“Other than ordering the SEALs to take out bin Laden, what has he actually done?”

“Leading from behind does not reflect the leadership role that America plays as the most powerful nation in the world.”

“ ‘Flexibility’ with Russia washes away the good feeling of killing bin Laden. Woe to Obama if Iran acts up before Election Day and the Israelis take action alone.”


Who would be the strongest GOP choice for vice president?

Democrats (91 votes)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: 18%
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: 0%
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell: 7%
Sen. Rob Portman: 23%
Sen. Marco Rubio: 28%
Rep. Paul Ryan: 8%

(Other vote recipients: Rick Santorum, 2; “a woman,” 2; South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, 1; New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, 1; and Ronald Reagan, 1.)

Gov. Chris Christie

“Mostly because he’s not regarded as a nut—and Romney needs someone to balance the crazy positions he’s taken to win the nomination.”

Gov. Bob McDonnell

“He helps with Christian conservatives and puts Virginia in play.”

Sen. Rob Portman

“It is not about sizzle.  Portman would make a great VP - highly qualified, highly competent, and from Ohio.”

“Portman may give Romney a fighting chance in Ohio, but he may also be too bland for the much needed energy injection Romney will covet after this bruising primary.”

This article appears in the April 7, 2012 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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