As the candidates and voters gather for tonight’s seventh Democratic presidential debate, a new poll has put foreign policy in a dead heat with health care as the most important issue for Iowa caucusgoers.
The most recent Des Moines Register poll – which many consider to be the gold-standard for Iowa – asked likely Democratic caucusgoers how important certain issues were when deciding which candidate to support. The survey found that more than 9 in 10 voters ranked foreign policy as “extremely important” or “important” – exactly on par with health care, an issue that has been central on the Democratic campaign trail.
Interestingly, foreign policy even beat out other hot-button issues like taxes, the economy, and immigration.
While the recent turmoil in the Middle East is surely driving some of these numbers, foreign policy has featured over the past six debates with candidates staking out their position on issues ranging from America’s role in the world to strengthening the State Department to tackling the root causes of violence and instability in Central America.
A key question for tonight is whether the debate stays focused on just the tension with Iran – or does it go deeper on how a candidate will focus on tackling key challenges like the global refugee crisis or navigating the growing great power competition with Russia and China?
We’ll be watching and be sure to follow the debate live with the USGLC team on Twitter.