The Des Moines Register: GOP focus on terrorism

February 9, 2015

By: Kathie Obradovich

The rise of terrorism as a priority issue for likely 2016 Republican caucusgoers in Iowa — and a new group aimed at promoting a foreign-policy agenda during the presidential campaign — raises some political challenges for Democrats.

One in four likely Republican caucusgoers see terrorism as the most important issue for the next president to address, according to The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll published last week. The federal deficit was in second place at 21 percent. The economy and jobs, in third place, was way down at 12 percent.

There’s certainly plenty of cause for concern. The Islamic extremist group called Islamic State or ISIS continues to rain down death and destruction in the Middle East. Leaders in Washington are mulling whether to arm Ukraine against Russia. Negotiations aimed at preventing a nuclear Iran seem to be at a tipping point.

Republicans are more unified on the question of action against terrorists than Democrats. More than 90 percent of likely GOP caucusgoers favor more aggressively pursuing terrorists in this country and abroad. Among likely Democratic caucusgoers, 70 percent favor more aggressive action while 25 percent are opposed.

Former Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan, who chaired the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was in Iowa last week to pump up the volume on Republicans’ national security concerns.

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