Poll: Obama Should Focus on Global Economy, Stopping Iranian and North Korean Nuke Efforts

Protesters gather at an anti-Iran rally outside United Nations headquarters in New York. A new poll found most Americans believe stopping Iran's nuclear arms program should be a top Obama second-term priority. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Most American voters believe during his second term President Obama’s top global priorities should be focusing on the sluggish global economy, keeping Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear arms and ending the Afghanistan war, according to a new poll.

Combating terrorism is less on voters’ minds than those issues, states the Better World Campaign poll of 900 registered U.S. voters, released Wednesday morning.

In fact, terrorism could be fifth on most voters’ minds.

When pollsters presented participating voters with a Better World Campaign-generated list of issues, here is how respondents ranked them (on average):

  1. “The global economy and trade
  2. Iran or North Korea potentially developing a nuclear weapon
  3. The turmoil, fighting and unrest in the Middle East
  4. Terrorism”

What’s more, “when asked an open-ended question about the top international priorities for the  Obama Administration to accomplish in the next four years,” the campaign said in a summary of the poll, “ respondents believe the top priority for the President is to end the war in Afghanistan and bring the troops home.”

The Afghanistan response came from three out of every 10 survey participant. During a Wednesday morning conference call, pollsters said, for an open-ended question, that is a substantially high response rate.

With most registered voters now focused on issues like the economy and the possibility of rogue states fielding atomic weapons, while also ready for the post-9/11 Afghanistan conflict to end and less worried about terrorism, it appears the American people are more concerned about conventional than asymmetric threats.

The Pentagon’s 2013 budget plan was accompanied by a much-maligned defense strategy built around a pivot away from the Middle East and toward Asia. That was a big signal that the post-9/11 era was in its final months. But GOP lawmakers and analysts have repeatedly panned that spending blueprint for failing to provide the troops and equipment needed in the vast Asia-Pacific realm. Will that change with the 2014 Pentagon budget plan? And how will deep cuts to planned spending that could kick in March 1 affect any envisioned Asia-inspired investment plans?

(The poll was conducted Jan. 6-9 via telephone, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.27 percent.)

John T. Bennett

John T. Bennett

Bennett is the Editor of Defense News' CongressWatch channel. He has a Masters degree in Global Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
John T. Bennett