Republicans seen as stronger on Terrorism: Impact of Brussels-like events on US politics

  • Electorally speaking, terrorist attacks like the one in Brussels are more likely to benefit Republicans than Democrats.
  • Republicans historically have been seen as more credible on “terrorism” and “foreign policy”.
    • The March 2016 Ipsos/Reuters poll puts Republicans at a 7-point advantage on “the war on terror”.
  • Typically, after an attack, public concern about terrorism spikes as a priority among Americans (e.g. after Paris and San Bernardino).
    • However, this peaked salience has a fairly quick half-life of maybe a few months depending on the gravity and proximity to US soil.
    • We expect that “terrorism as a priority” will spike again as a result of the Brussels event but will most likely recede quickly as a concern, and thus have little impact on the US election.

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