As the Obama administration passes its 70-day mark, Americans are fairly comfortable with its handling of the War on Terror, according to the latest FOX News poll.
The national telephone poll was conducted for FOX News by Opinion Dynamics Corp. among 900 registered voters from March 31 to April 1, 2009. The poll has a 3-point margin of error.
A slim plurality (36 percent) think the United States is safer today than it was under the Bush administration — although a nearly equal share (31 percent) takes the opposite view. And, in a trend seen throughout this survey, independent voters are more likely to say the country was safer under George W. Bush than it is under Barack Obama (33 percent to 25 percent).
Almost seven in ten Americans (68 percent) think President Obama will continue fighting the global war against terrorism — with even a majority of Republicans (51 percent) feeling that way.
Americans do not, however, like the Obama administration's decision to retire the word "terrorism" in favor of the more abstract "man-caused disaster" terminology. Fully three-quarters (75 percent) think "terrorism" better describes the threat to the country. Only 14 percent believe that "man-caused disaster" is a more accurate description of the threat America faces. Almost seven in ten Democrats (68 percent) agree that "terrorism" is the more appropriate term to use.
President Obama recently stated that the U. S. military had succeeded in Iraq and helped establish a sovereign Iraqi government. Without asking whether they believed the president's statement or not, we found that a majority of Americans think that — if Iraq is characterized as a success — George W. Bush deserves "most" of the credit for it. Only 16 percent believe President Obama deserves most of the credit, while about one person in seven (15 percent) says neither deserves credit.
While this question does not delve into the correctness of the Iraqi effort overall, these results suggest that — in the long view of history — President Bush's role may be looked on more favorably than it is today. On this note, it is instructive that Bush is given the "credit" edge even among Democrats (35 percent to 28 percent).
Ernie Paicopolos is a principal at Opinion Dynamics Corporation.