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Nothing recedes like success

Dick Morris thinks that President Bush’s poor showing in the polls is the result of the fact that, in the absence of new terrorist attacks against the homeland, the issue has lost its salience for most voters. Thus, he argues that “Bush must make clear to us all the threats that remain, not try to take credit for the end of the terror danger. He must make the most of what he has yet to achieve, rather than try to sell his successes.” An awkward position to be in.
Despite his strong credentials as a political analyst, Morris’ predictions over the past two years have been spotty. However, he did warn early on that the more Bush succeeded in combatting terrorism, the less relevant the issue would become, to Bush’s detriment. The poll data that Morris cites certainly tend to validate this prediction. For example, by a margin of 44-31, the economy is viewed as more important to voters than national security. In early 2002, national security won out by a margin of 52-19
On the other hand, if the economy is, in fact, recovering, then this issue may become a wash at best for the Democrats. In that scenario, the fact that Bush is much more highly regarded than Kerry with respect to national security presumably would put him over the top.

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