Josh Marshall has a post up effectively stating that the Bush campaign has been able to take the war in Iraq off the table as an issue in this campaign. I’m not so sure.
Nearly every national poll lists Iraq as one of the three most important issues in the election. State polls are emphasizing this issue as well, even in the red states.
For instance, Iraq was chosen by voters in Tennessee as the most important issue in a poll just released by Middle Tennessee University.
Iraq has also been cited as the most important issue in Kershaw County, South Carolina, and the ongoing failure of Bush’s war is hurting him with swing voters there:
The aftermath of the war in Iraq has become a problem for President Bush among South Carolina’s swing voters in Kershaw County.
It has turned what once was believed to be an asset for re-election into a vulnerability, according to interviews with those voters.
Especially chilling were government reports last week that 1,000 Americans had been killed in combat since the conflict began.
“Young guys are getting killed over there for nothing,” said Wanda Blakeney, a 49-year-old cook.
“It’s sickening,” said Peter Roland, a 52 year-old baker and owner of the Mulberry Market in Camden.
“If Beelzebub came up out of the ground,” [Roland] said, “I’d vote for him over Bush.”
Tom Gentles, a 78-year-old retired chemical engineer, is another voter angry with Bush.
“He was a fool to get into the war the way he did,” he said. “As long as the inspectors were over there in Iraq, he should have left them alone.”