Most Americans Are Not Interested In The Topic Of Tonight’s Debate

Sure the last debate is tonight, the problem is that it’s not really the debate the American public wants to see. From Foreign Policy Magazine:

The fact is that voters simply don’t care about foreign policy this year and it’s an issue that will almost certainly have very little impact on how they cast their ballot. Recent national polling is instructive in this regard. According to the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, only 6 percent of voters consider foreign policy and the Middle East the most important national issue; terrorism scores even lower at 1 percent. A CBS/New York Times poll from early in September doesn’t include a single foreign policy topic among the list of issues chosen by voters as most important to them.

It is striking that at a time when voters suggest they are overwhelmingly concerned about a host of issues other than foreign policy, the third and final 90 minute meeting between the two candidates will be dominated by a topic that the electorate is barely interested in and which only tangentially affects their daily lives. A debate devoted exclusively to health care or the future of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would be a far more useful civic exercise.

The reason isn’t only one of voter interest. The reality is that foreign policy just isn’t as important as it used to be. Obviously, crises can emerge and there are important issues to address, but we are living in a time of relative peace and security around the world; the United States faces no serious foreign threats; terrorism, while never a serious challenge, has diminished even further; the chances of getting involved in another overseas war are not non-existent, but they are pretty slim. The world that the United States inhabits is a remarkably safe place with a set of global normative shifts that advance U.S. national interests. Moreover, our ability to affect events in other countries — and the desire of the American people to do so — is far more limited than we like to acknowledge.

Foreign policy and national security questions are still worth asking — after all, foreign policy stewardship is a pretty important part of the job of president. It’s just that in an election in which the divide between the candidates on economic, fiscal, and social issues is so great it’s worth spending a hell of a lot more time on that than on foreign policy.

We’ll be here live blogging anyway. We know our readers care…

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Posted by on October 22, 2012.
Filed under 2012 Presidential Race, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Politicians.
Doug Johnson is a news junkie and long time blog reader, turned author.

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  • GarandFan

    “terrorism scores even lower at 1 percent. A CBS/New York Times poll from early in September”

    Could it be that this 1% reflects on the readers/viewers of CBS/NYTs?

  • jim_m

    Truth is that the only important debate was the first one and that is because the American public got to see that Romney was not the blood-sucking demon that obama and the MSM had made him out to be.

    And while some idiots on the left (but I repeat myself) concluded that Romney presented a fraudulent image in the debate by not living up to his characterization by the leftist MSM, most Americans are sufficiently skeptical of the MSM to realize that what they saw in the debate was the real thing.

    • JWH

      Truth is that the only important debate was the first one and that is because the American public got to see that Romney was not the blood-sucking demon that obama and the MSM had made him out to be.

      Of course Romney isn’t a blood-sucking demon. He’s a replicant.

  • herddog505

    IIRC, we were told before the first debate that the debates wouldn’t matter very much, and I seem to recall strong hints that nobody would watch, anyway.

    I get very tired of MiniTru telling us what we think…

  • http://opinion.ak4mc.us/ Scribe of Slog (McGehee)

    Oh, people do care about foreign policy. What they don’t care about is what a bunch of dunderheads with press credentials think about it.

    If I had to choose whom to trust about foreign policy, and my choices were (1) some yahoo with a (snicker) Nobel Peace Prize who runs around apologizing to his country’s enemies, or (2) some international businessman who made a pile of money dealing with foreign reality, I really don’t think the Nobel winner would get my vote.

  • JWH

    Foreign policy doesn’t matter. Until it does.