A few weeks ago a very misleading campaign ad for President George W. Bush said Sen. John Kerry saw terrorists as a “nuisance.” Kerry, unsurprisingly, never said such a thing, but rather said he hoped we could reach a time when terrorists are defeated to a point where we would not have everything revolves around the issue of terrorism. The way likely voters reacted to last week’s video statement from Osama bin Laden is an indication the nation is getting closer to dealing with terrorism in such a way.
When the video was released on Al-Jazeera, and shortly thereafter was played on virtually all television networks in America as well, pundits supporting either party tried to make the point that it helped their respective candidates while spelling certain doom to the other’s campaign.
Some argue that it helped Bush because it showed al-Qaida was still out there and plotting against American interests, a revelation that would rally voters behind the president. Others said that the message confirmed precisely what Kerry had been saying all along, thereby bolstering Kerry’s claim that Bush let bin Laden get away while focusing on Iraq.
But polls conducted over the weekend suggest that voters did not consider the video when making their choice for president. While Kerry gained ground in most polls (thereby debunking the claim the video was helping Bush) it is likely that it was simply the continuation of a trend that had begun before the video surfaced.
An official from the Pew Research Center said on NPR that the Pew poll did not see a trend suggesting voters were influenced by the video either way.
While both President Bush (who noticeably responded officially to such a video for the first time) and Sen. Kerry were fast to issue statements concerning the video, the American public, while still understanding the need to face the threat, seems to be tired of being scared.
Hopefully this is a trend that continues after the election.