The terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., have reshuffled the Republicans’ presidential primary, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the front-runner, Donald Trump.
Roughly half of Republican primary voters in Iowa view the celebrity businessman as the most capable candidate to handle the threat posed by Islamic State, according to a new CNN/ORC poll. His next closest rival: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, at 15%.
The survey was taken before Mr. Trump took his most controversial position to date by calling for a ban on Muslims traveling to the U.S. Whatever the fallout from this latest episode, Mr. Trump’s hardline stance against Islamic State terrorists has clearly tapped a nerve with voters willing to ignore his lack of foreign-policy experience.
Mr. Trump outpaces his rivals in New Hampshire and South Carolina on the question of which candidate Republican primary voters trust most to deal with the issue of national security, according to surveys taken earlier this month by Harper Polling for Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security (APPS), a group formed to promote foreign policy in the 2016 race.
Iowa is the only state where Mr. Trump trails one of his rivals on the national-security question, according to the Harper Polling surveys. Mr. Cruz nabbed the top spot in that poll, with 34% of Iowa Republicans giving the Texas senator the highest marks on national security. Mr. Trump was second, at 19%. Mr. Cruz recently pulled almost even with Mr. Trump in the Hawkeye State.