Surveys show consistently that the foreign-policy views of American voters are more in line with Kerry's than with Bush's. 'On a good number of [foreign-policy issues], John Kerry is much closer to the public stand than is George Bush,' says Benjamin Page, a specialist in electoral decisionmaking at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. He points to high support for US action within multilateralist frameworks and low support for preemptive military action.It is a little early, but we can already try to compare pre-Dubya foreign policy (1945 - 2000) with post 9/11 policy (2001 - 2004). Bush would argue that we are now much better off because we are safer. This is difficult to measure. Kerry (in his current incarnation) would argue we're much worse off because the world, which used to love us, now hates us (broadly speaking). My take: Being the object of more of the world's hatred can't be a good thing.
In addition, he says the public 'is much less interested in democratizing the world' than the president says he is, while Americans are 'much more supportive' than Bush of international treaties like the Kyoto climate-change accords.
That leads Mr. Page to say it's a 'puzzle' why American voters aren't more attracted to Kerry's foreign-policy stance. But the puzzle is solved by the evidence that foreign policy for many voters post-Sept. 11 is less specifics and more a leadership issue - where Bush scores well."
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Americans: Multilateralists and Bush supporters
Good overview of Bush and Kerry's world views in the CS Monitor: