Thursday, August 7, 2014

U.S. public unsure about American foreign policy

I have been puzzled over the fact that President Obama's approval ratings for his handling of foreign policy has been dropping, despite public agreement with most of those policies -- such as avoiding direct military involvement in Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine and supporting Israel in Gaza. Now I think I have the answer: the people "don't know enough" about U.S. policy.

That's the real lesson from the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC news poll.

Just notice the figures for "Don't know enough/not sure." In every case, those figures are larger than either "satisfied" or "dissatisfied."

Successful messaging requires not just saying the right thing one time, but repeating the point in memorable language, and placing it in a broader explanatory context. The White House, admittedly trying to juggle multiple crises at the same time, still hasn't broken through the fog of ignorance on any of its issues.

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