- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 11, 2014

More than ever before, Americans have more confidence in Republicans than Democrats to protect the country from terrorists, according to a new Gallup poll released Thursday.

A 55 percent majority of Americans chose Republicans as best equipped to keep the country safe, compared with 32 percent who got behind Democrats.

The GOP has historically edged out Democrats when it comes to fighting terrorism, but this is the Republicans’ widest lead on the issue since Gallup started asking the question in 2002.

The Republicans have often had a big lead and topped Democrats on the terrorism question in all but two years, 2007 and 2012. But the GOP’s current 23-point advantage eclipses what was previously their largest lead, 19 points in 2002.

The spike in support for Republicans on homeland security issues coincides with the rising threat from the terrorist army known as Islamic State, or the acronyms ISIL and ISIS, which prompted President Obama to address the nation Wednesday a new strategy to destroy the group.

Islamic State, which has overrun a large swath of territory in Iraq and Syria, garnered fresh attention in the U.S. with video of the beheading of two American journalists kidnapped in Syria, James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

“The strong Republican advantage this year is most likely related to the increasing news coverage of ISIS and its beheadings of two American journalists,” said the Gallup pollsters. “Although the Obama administration has initiated air attacks against terrorist positions in Iraq, the president’s widely quoted comments that he had ‘no strategy’ for dealing with the issue may help explain why Americans have become less likely to say the Democrats could better protect the U.S. from terrorism and military threats.”

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