RealNews

Terrorism Threat Narrows Race

Bush Gains When That Issue Comes Up. Walk up to Carol Del Tufo in the parking lot at Pier 1 Imports and ask about her presidential preferences and her voice drops, confidential-like. She is a middle-age teacher and lifelong Democrat, and her usual preoccupations are education and jobs. Except this year. “I had a neighbor who lost her husband in the attacks,” she said. “It was so scary. I’ve got kids. I don’t want another attack.” She purses her lips and makes her confession: “Look, I’m voting for Bush. He’s very strong, and there’s no ‘maybe’ in his voice.” In this post-9/11 nation, New Jersey is perhaps the purest example of the terrorism differential. Tick off the usual hot-button issues here — education, the environment, gun control — and Democrat John F. Kerry leads by 20 percentage points. Then mention terrorism, and watch his lead shrink to single digits in the polls. Nearly 700 New Jerseyans died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, and state polls show that residents consistently rate terrorism as their most important issue; 22 percent of those polled by the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University said they think about terrorism at least once every day. Full Story

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