Right thing 27 % Should not be involved 64 % Don't Know /NA 9 %
Most media outlets reported the top line number from this week’s Q-poll without delving further into the numbers. Florida has a disproportionate number of enlisted men and military bases compared to most other swing states (obvious exception here is Virginia). The War in Afghanistan is rightly unpopular among Florida voters. Much like his predecessor, President Obama has gotten involved in Middle Eastern conflicts that make little geopolitical sense and where there is no endgame. In 2008, Obama distinguished between what he called the good war (Afghanistan) and the bad war (Iraq). But the reality is that neither war has helped further the geopolitical aims or enhance the national security of the United States .
George W. Bush’s foreign policy became unpopular in the state of Florida more quickly than it did nationally. Despite Bush’s 2004 victory in the state, opinion polls in 2005 consistently showed the Iraq war as being less popular in Florida than it was nationally. By early 2006, national opinion had caught Florida’s on the Iraq War.
When you have large numbers of enlisted men and military retirees, wars of choice cut differently in Florida than in other states. Both Bush and Obama have advocated a liberal Mideast policy based on nation building and idealistic visions of how the region should look. A problem continues to be how inconsistent the foreign policy goals and implementation by both Bush and Obama have been. While Florida voters are likely to cast their ballots on other considerations, the War in Afghanistan may be a tie breaking issue that cuts against Obama in the state or may motivate some liberal Democrats to not work as hard for the President’s reelection.
Much has been written about Obama’s potential problems with the large and loyal Democratic Jewish constituency in Palm Beach and Broward counties due to his perceived handling of issues related to Israel. But the reality is the continued lack of message clarity or perceived success on Afghanistan could be a more serious problem for Obama in the state.