Could the port flap bring a sea change on national security views?

For the first time ever, a Rasmussen poll shows that Americans trust congressional Democrats more than Bush when it comes to keeping them safe.

Published February 24, 2006 6:01PM (EST)

It's a given that Republicans enjoy an edge over Democrats when it comes to national security -- a given that Karl Rove and the GOP exploited in 2004 and intend to exploit again in the congressional elections later this year. But does it have to be that way?

It's only a snapshot and the margin is very small, but a new Rasmussen Reports poll suggests that the national security gap may be disappearing. For the first time ever, Rasmussen says, more Americans -- 43 to 41 percent -- trust the Democrats in Congress than the president on national security issues.

"The preference for the opposition party is small, but the fact that Democrats are even competitive on the national security front is startling," Rasmussen says. A big contributing factor: With only 17 percent of the public saying that Dubai Ports World should be allowed to control six U.S. ports, Bush's initial insistence on letting the deal go through has "tarnished" his reputation on national security matters.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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