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U.S. News & World Report: Mitt Romney and Barack Obama Can't Ignore Foreign Policy

Authors: Robert Zarate, and Evan Moore
October 3, 2012


A recent Foreign Policy Initiative poll shows that voters find foreign policy a much more important issue than conventional wisdom would suggest.

For months, the conventional wisdom has been that foreign policy won't matter in the 2012 election. On the right, many GOP strategists counseled that every moment Mitt Romney talked about foreign policy was a lost opportunity to discuss the economy, jobs, and other domestic concerns. On the left, President Barack Obama appeared to embrace the political pablum by saying, "It's time to do some nation-building right here at home," during the Democratic National Convention.

The conventional wisdom is wrong.

Last week, the Foreign Policy Initiative—a D.C.-based nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization where we work—released a national survey of 1,000 randomly selected likely voters on international affairs and the election. Forty percent of respondents sided with Democrats, 38 percent aligned with Republicans, and 20 percent self-identified as independents or as having no party. Contrary to naysayers, the survey found that, in fact, foreign policy matters in 2012.

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