US Congressional Candidates Recognize Voters’ Fears
Opinion surveys show feelings of unease among likely American voters as they prepare for congressional, state and local elections next month. The Gallup organization recently asked a group of Americans for what they thought are the most important issues facing the country. The top 10 answers included the Ebola virus and the threat from Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
The Republican Party is often critical of President Barack Obama. Some Republican candidates are questioning how safe Americans are under Mr. Obama, a Democrat. Yet some Democrats are blaming Republicans for cutting government spending on public health as Ebola worries surface.
Frightening news from overseas has come home for many Americans. An example was confirmation of the first cases of Ebola in the United States.
"Good morning. A second health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has preliminarily tested positive for Ebola."
There were also the recent executions of two American journalists and a British aid worker. Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the killings.
"This is James Wright Foley, an American citizen of your country."
The apparent threat from Islamic State fighters has become a campaign issue in the United States. So says Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of the Gallup Poll.
"The current military action that is taking place against the Islamic State is a factor when you remind Americans of it, that they say, ‘Hmm, that could be important.' And some candidates at the Senate level are trying to take advantage of it, as of course politicians will do."
Republican supporters are using television advertisements to tie current Democrats in the United States Senate to President Obama. The ads accuse the Senate Democrats of being weak on national security.
"While radical Islamists threaten to attack America, and millions cross our border undetected, President Obama and Senator Landrieu have done nothing."
Several ads from conservative groups against Democrats combine the separate issues of Islamic State terrorists and illegal immigration.
"Evil forces around the world want to harm Americans every day. Their entry into our country? Through Arizona's backyard. Yet Ann Kirkpatrick consistently votes with her party against protecting Arizona."
For their part, some Democratic supporters are attacking Republicans on the Internet. This ad on the YouTube website criticizes Republican candidates for cutting government spending.
"Washington actually can cut spending."
"The CDC says its discretionary spending has been cut by $585 million since 2010" "Cut" "Cut" "Cut."
VOA spoke with two Americans who were visiting Washington, DC. Mary Huttar is from Virginia, while Frank Wyman lives in South Carolina. When asked if they were worried about Ebola, each had mixed feelings.
"I'm not afraid that it's going to become a huge thing – I mean the disease is horrible but I am not afraid about our own medical system.
"I'm getting worried. I'm not scared yet -- I think we'll get it all figured out. "
Some campaign ads may seem frightening. But most Americans still say their top issues in this election are the economy, unemployment and dissatisfaction with the government.
I'm Caty Weaver.