“Anxiety about terrorism advantages Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump”? Not according to a more valid poll than the one cited below. The more credible poll was based on significant national polling averages, which placed Trump ahead of Clinton; plus it was conducted in July, instead of seven months ago, as was the case in the American National Election Studies pilot study.
The smear job in Vox below claims that Trump “has less expertise on foreign policy than Clinton, and anxious citizens want expertise, not just threatening rhetoric.” Yet clearly a concern about the Obama administration’s mishandling if the jihad threat has been a significant factor contributing to Trump’s rise. Clinton may have so-called “expertise,” but not proven reliability, and has not been trustworthy in national security matters.
She won’t even admit the nature of this jihad threat; she is being sued for wrongful death and defamation by two parents whose children were murdered in the Benghazi jihad attacks, and is neck-deep in email scandals and corruption.
Also, let’s not turn a blind eye to the scrubbing of ISIS intelligence reports for “political reasons” that was done at senior levels under Democratic leadership. It was reported that a “special congressional joint task force has officially confirmed what has been suspected for months: The Obama administration through U.S Central Command scrubbed intelligence reports showing the rise of ISIS as a critical threat to the United States and the world. The reports were altered for political purposes to present a rosier, less threatening picture of the terror army to the American people.”
Trump does not simply spew out “threatening rhetoric,” as claimed in the report below. He outlined issues of terrorism, immigration and national security here. He discusses a dysfunctional immigration system that puts Americans at risk; points out that Sharia is anti-gay, anti-woman and incompatible with Western values; and says that the truth needs to be told about what he terms radical Islam to preserve Western freedoms. He speaks of arriving at viable solutions through teamwork, cooperation and intelligence-gathering at every level of government, involving both domestic and foreign policy.
“Anxiety about terrorism advantages Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump”, Vox, by Bethany Albertson and Shana Kushner Gadarian, July 29, 2016:
Whether the threat is terrorism, immigration, infectious disease, or the economy, American political life is often frightening, and 2016 is no exception. Recent terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States have made terrorism salient to American voters.
In January 2016, 69 percent of respondents in the American National Election Studies pilot study said that they were worried (either moderately, very, or extremely) about terrorism in the near future. In a May 2016 Gallup poll, 87 percent of respondents said that terrorism and national security are very or extremely important to their vote for president.
During a presidential race, these events naturally raise the question: Does either candidate benefit from terrorism anxiety? Based on our book, Anxious Politics: Democratic Citizenship in a Threatening World, we expect that worries about terrorism benefit Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, despite the traditional advantage the Republican Party has on national security issues.
While terrorism fears generally benefit the Republican Party, this advantage does not necessarily extend to Trump because he has less expertise on foreign policy than Clinton, and anxious citizens want expertise, not just threatening rhetoric.
When politics is threatening and citizens are frightened, particularly by events that are dramatic and deadly, people want protection and look to leaders and institutions that can keep their physical selves, their families, and their nation safe and whole. For representative government to function properly, citizens must put at least minimal trust in the actors who govern on their behalf. One method by which people cope with the uncertainty and negative affect that underlie political anxiety is to trust expert political actors to protect them from threats.
How do citizens know who the trustworthy experts are? In some policy areas, relevant expertise is easily identified. For instance, in experiments we’ve done related to public health, people worried about infectious diseases (like H1N1 or swine flu and smallpox) become more trusting of medical experts (e.g., doctors and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to provide them information, but they do not become more trusting of political actors with no medical background.
In a study on smallpox anxiety, we varied the description of the US surgeon general, as either a doctor with expertise in infectious disease or as a political appointee. Anxious respondents were more trusting in the surgeon general when she was described as an expert, but not when she was described as a political appointee. Anxious citizens want to put their trust in actors and institutions they believe will help them cope with the threats that are making them anxious in the first place.
In policy areas where expertise is less clear-cut, we find that anxiety tends to benefit the party that “owns” the policy. Political parties maintain “issue owning” advantages on select policy areas where the party is seen as more competent, more consistent, and more active based on the party’s priorities and constituency.
On owned issues, parties appear more sincere and committed to delivering policy and generally focus rhetoric on owned issues. We find anxious respondents consider the owning party to be most knowledgeable about the policy and have the most capacity to give useful information, and trust the owning party more than the less expert/non-owning party.
Much of the time when the threat is terrorism, this threat is a boon for the Republican because the GOP has a longstanding ownership advantage on national security. That is, voters tend to say that they trust the Republicans to “handle” national security more than the Democrats. In the post-9/11 era, concerns over terrorism increased trust in Republican President George W. Bush and support for more hawkish foreign policy aligned with the Republican Party, and decreased support for Democratic President Barack Obama.
The same dynamics play out in other countries. In Israel, terrorism and rocket attacks increase votes for right-wing parties, which are also advantaged on security issues. Yet recent Washington Post/ABC polling shows that 50 percent of respondents say they trust Hillary Clinton to handle terrorism, compared with 39 percent who say they trust Donald Trump more.
Clinton’s advantage over Trump on the issue of terrorism grew from the month before, where she only had a 3 percentage point advantage over Trump (47 percent versus 44), despite the fact that more people say the Republican Party can do a better job dealing with terrorism at home.
Why does the Republican Party advantage not transfer to Trump? Our work suggests that anxious citizens put their trust in leaders and policies they believe can protect them and help them cope with threats and use issue ownership as a proxy for expertise. In the 2016 election, it is Clinton who is advantaged on foreign policy expertise, having served as secretary of state and on the Armed Services Committee during her time in the Senate.
Trump has no formal foreign policy experience, and many Republican foreign policy experts have indicated their opposition to him or outright endorsement of Hillary Clinton. The types of “protective” policies that Trump offered in the wake of the Paris attacks, including a ban on Muslim immigration, the use of waterboarding on suspected terrorists, and killing their families, are more popular among Republican primary voters than among general election voters…