Nearly half of New Hampshire Republicans rank terrorism among the top issues driving their choice for president, while just 17 percent of Democrats feel the same way, according to a new Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll.
“The point is that voters want to feel safe,” Republican strategist Ford O’Connell told the Herald. “Right now it’s a bigger issue for the Republicans, but it could turn into a much bigger thing for Democrats depending on how world events unfold leading up to the election.”
In a clear sign that the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., have Republicans looking to elect a president that will be tough on jihadis, 46 percent of those polled had terrorism in their top three issues, and 24 percent said it was their top deciding issue.
Less than 6 percent of Democrats had terror at the top of their list.
The disparity, O’Connell said, shows the increasing focus on terrorism by Republican presidential candidates is having an impact on voters. The constant use of the word “safe” during Tuesday night’s final Republican primary debate, O’Connell said, was no accident.
“One example of that is Chris Christie shifting from being a New Jersey governor to being a federal prosecutor with a history of prosecuting terrorists,” O’Connell said.
“Candidates want to talk about issues and policies, but at the end of the day there are certain buzzwords that will make voters feel better about them.”