News

    Iraq, Health Care Major Issues in 2008 US Presidential Election

    Multimedia

    Audio

    The war in Iraq, U.S. relations with Iran and the state of the economy are all expected to be major factors in next year's presidential campaign. In the fourth part of his series on the 2008 election, National correspondent Jim Malone looks at the issues likely to dominate the debate.

    Many experts predict Iraq will be the top issue in the 2008 campaign, much as it was when President Bush won re-election in 2004.

    "The war is the overriding issue," said Allan Lichtman, a presidential historian at American University in Washington, D.C. "Whenever there is a war that becomes the issue for a generation. Unless of course there is a recession and that might overshadow the war, but nobody knows whether that is going to happen or not."

    Some Republicans believe the improved security situation in Iraq could help whoever becomes the Republican Party's presidential nominee next year. But Lichtman believes the Democratic nominee will have an advantage with independent voters going into the 2008 campaign.

    "The recent situation may have slightly improved for the administration, but that has mainly moved Republicans," he said. "It has not moved Democrats at all and has not caused much movement among independents. And Republican votes [alone] are not going to be good enough for a presidential candidate [to win] in 2008."

    Iraq remains a central issue in the battle for the Democratic Party nomination where Senator Hillary Clinton of New York continues to lead the field in public opinion polls.

    Some of Clinton's rivals question her initial support of the war.

    "It has not faded as an issue among Democratic activists," said Stephen Wayne, a professor of government at Georgetown University in Washington. "It has faded as a salient issue among the country for the simple reason that the Congress is divided and the Democrats do not seem to be able to win any votes and there seems to be a pessimism that there is no way they can stop Bush, and that the only way to change Iraq is when we have a new president."

    Iraq, Iran and other foreign policy issues are getting a lot of attention on the campaign trail, especially in early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

    "The war in Iraq and the war on terror and Iran and nuclear weapons are things that are looming in front of people and they are concerned about it," said Arthur Sanders, a political scientist at Drake University in Iowa. "You know, when candidates go to these [voter] forums, they get asked about that."

    Those same issues are being discussed in New Hampshire as well. But Democrats there are also concerned with supporting a candidate who can win the general election in November of 2008.

    "So, you see Iraq, but also typical Democratic concerns such as health care, for example, are on the list," said Dante Scala, who lectures on politics at the University of New Hampshire. "But given that candidates wind up having more or less similar positions on a host of issues, I think it does come down to factors such as personality and perceived electability."

    Many experts believe the mix of issues at the moment favors the Democrats.

    "They [Democrats] have many advantages, not least that we have had one party in power for eight years," said Larry Sabato, who directs the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. "Americans like to change, normally, after eight years, but we do not always do it. Second, there is no question that the president's unpopularity, which stems mainly from Iraq but also from (the response to Hurricane) Katrina and other events is going to be an albatross around the neck of any Republican nominee."

    But Republican strategists say that the Democrat's advantage on the issues could change if the focus of the campaign turns to national security and the war on terror.

    "The way that they [Republicans] might [gain an advantage] would be to paint a Democrat as being weak or inexperienced on foreign policy in general, not just Iraq, and the war on terror," said John Fortier, who monitors presidential politics at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

    Illegal immigration is another issue that could ignite passions in both the early primaries and in the general election campaign.

    "Immigration has been an issue that has erupted periodically, and I think as an undercurrent is quite important," said Steffen Schmidt, a professor of political science at Iowa State University. "It is not as visible as some of the other issues on a day to day basis, but I know from talking to many activists that it is very, very important."

    Recent national surveys suggest the war in Iraq and domestic concerns about health care, the economy and jobs top the list of voter priorities as the election cycle approaches.

    In our final report in the series, a look at the possibility of a major third party candidate in next year's election.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora