The Candidates and The World

Transition 2012

A guide to foreign policy and the 2012 U.S. presidential transition.

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Midday Update: Poll, Many Voters Like Mideast Response

by Newsteam Staff
September 18, 2012

Photo of the Day: US Secretary of State Clinton meets with Myanmar opposition leader Suu Kyi in Washington September 18, 2012. (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters)


A Pew Research Center poll released yesterday showed that among voters who followed the news about the attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East, nearly half (45 percent) approve of President Obama’s handling of the situation, while 36 percent disapprove.

Twenty-six percent of those surveyed approved of GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s statements on the situation and 48 percent disapproved, but the numbers were decisively divided by party affiliation.

“There was a sharp partisan divide in approval of how Romney and Obama each dealt with the assaults — only 5 percent of Democrats approved of Romney’s remarks, and only 11 percent of Republicans approved of Obama’s handling — but independents favored the president. Forty-four percent of them liked how Obama handled the events, with only 23 percent saying the same of the former Massachusetts governor,” writes Kevin Robillard in Politico.

This CFR Issue Tracker looks at both candidates’ stances on democracy promotion in the Arab world.

Mother Jones
released a new excerpt of a video of GOP nominee Mitt Romney at a private fundraiser earlier this year, in which he said that a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine is not possible (TPM).

“I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there’s just no way… [S]o what you do is, you say, you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem…and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it,” he said.

But as Alexander Burns writes in Politico, “This is not so widely divergent from Romney’s public remarks, though there’s a level of bluntness and pessimism and accusation of the Palestinians that Romney doesn’t usually put out in the open.”

Read more about the candidates’ positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in this CFR Issue Tracker.

President Obama leads GOP nominee Mitt Romney by 8 points in a new poll of small business owners conducted by George Washington University’s School of Political Management.

Thirty-nine percent also said that Obama was more supportive of small businesses, compared with 32 percent for Romney.

However, Kent Hoover in The Business Journals notes that the “survey found that nearly 15 percent of small business owners haven’t decided who is going to get their vote, so that presents Romney with an opportunity to close the gap.”

Read what the candidates are proposing for the economy in this CFR Issue tracker.

–Contributing Editor Kirsti Itameri

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