Voters Think Hillary Clinton Won The Second Democratic Debate With Her Commitment to National Security
Even though Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley hammered former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her ties to Wall Street and big banks, voters still thought Clinton won the Democratic debate Saturday night, according to Public Policy Polling. Politico said O'Malley held his own in the debate for the first time, but, unfortunately, it might be too late for him to surpass Clinton or Sanders in the polls. Sanders gained more Twitter followers during the debate than Clinton and O'Malley combined, but voters still believed that Clinton was stronger on certain issues, according to CNBC.
Public Policy Polling found that 67 percent of Democratic primary voters nationally who watched the second Democratic debate believed that Clinton had won. Only 20 percent believed Sanders had won, and seven percent thought O'Malley performed the best, according to the poll. Clinton's performance may have been received more positively because of her focus and expertise on national security. The poll also found that 75 percent of Democratic primary voters said they had the most faith in Clinton on issues of national security, compared to 17 percent who would prefer Sanders and five percent who would prefer O'Malley. The debate also improved voters' views of Clinton. Public Policy Polling found that 63 percent of voters said the debate gave them a more positive opinion of Clinton.
Clinton didn't back down during the debate, which focused heavily on foreign policy and counterterrorism efforts — a change that CBS News promised to make in light of the attacks in Paris, according to BBC News. Sanders hammered Clinton on her backing of the Iraq war, which he said helped give rise to militants like the Islamic State. But Clinton disagreed, saying Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and former Iraqi leader Nouri al-Maliki were more responsible for militant power than the U.S., BBC News reported.
When Sanders tried to derail Clinton's confidence by pointing out how much money she has received from executives at Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs, she defended herself with an interesting note about how much she helped rebuild Wall Street after the Sept. 11 attacks. Though Politico pointed out that the answer was strange and Republicans thought the move was dirty, the answer apparently didn't distract voters too much. Clinton's foreign policy stances spoke louder.
Clinton toed the line between interventionism and isolation during the debate, which may have swayed voters who previously believed her to be too quick to support militarism and conflict. For example, she said the U.S. should be more involved in attacks against the Islamic State, according to the Chicago Tribune. But then she said "it cannot be an American fight," reinforcing her previous stance that the U.S. should not lead attacks against ISIS or declare war against the group and that Turkey and Gulf states should do more to intervene, according to BBC News.
"This election is not only about electing a president, it's also about choosing our next commander in chief," Clinton said during the debate, according to the Tribune. "All of the other issues we want to deal with depend upon us being secure and strong."
Clinton then said that ISIS doesn't only need to be contained, she said the group must be defeated, according to BBC News. Though neither she nor the other two candidates gave specific strategies for how to defeat ISIS, voters apparently agreed with Clinton's hard stance on the issue after the Paris attacks. Her commitment to national security in the face of attacks in France made her the clear winner of the second debate for Democratic voters.