Democratic Voters Trust Hillary Clinton Over Bernie Sanders in International Crisis

More than half of Democratic voters say they are "very confident" in Clinton.

ByRYAN STRUYK
November 14, 2015, 1:56 PM
PHOTO: (L-R) Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, listens to a question in Las Vegas, Nov. 9, 2015 and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in Manchester, N.H., Sept. 19, 2015.
(L-R) Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, listens to a question in Las Vegas, Nov. 9, 2015 and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in Manchester, N.H., Sept. 19, 2015.
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— -- As Democratic presidential candidates prepared to debate less than 24 hours after devastating attacks in Paris, a recent poll found that Democratic primary voters trust Hillary Clinton more than Bernie Sanders to handle an international crisis.

More than half of Democratic voters -- 53 percent -- said they are "very confident" in the former secretary of state's ability to lead in a foreign affairs crisis, according to a national CBS/NYT poll released Thursday. But only 16 percent say the same of Bernie Sanders.

Also, 27 percent say they are "not too confident" or "not at all confident" in Sanders, while only 17 percent say the same of Clinton. Clinton continues to hold a broad lead nationally.

CBS News is focusing the second Democratic debate on national security and terrorism in light of the attacks, putting Clinton's international affairs experience as Secretary of State front and center.

"Last night's attacks are a tragic example of the kind of challenges American Presidents face in today's world and we intend to ask the candidates how they would confront the evolving threat of terrorism," CBS News Washington Bureau Chief Christopher Isham told reporters in the debate hall at Des Moines' Drake University.

Attacks across Paris on Friday night killed at least 129 people and left more than 350 injured, prompting heightened security in U.S. cities. French President Hollande called the events "an act of war."

The militant group ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks and Secretary of State John Kerry said U.S. intelligence has "seen nothing that leads us to a different conclusion."

But Democratic primary voters, like most Americans, are discouraged by the current state of the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Three in 10 say the fight is going "well," while 69 percent say it's going "badly." Still, Republicans are even more discouraged: Only 11 percent say it's going well, as opposed to 83 percent who say it's going badly.

On the Republican side, voters are splintered with no clear choice on who is the strongest on foreign affairs. A CNN/ORC poll in Iowa last week found that 18 percent trusted Donald Trump most, followed by 14 percent for each Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Carson garnered 11 percent.

But between the two parties, a clear divide has formed on how to continue on the fight against ISIS. Republicans favor sending ground troops to Iraq and Syria by a broad margin, 73 percent vs. 22 percent, according to an national Quinnipiac poll in August. But a majority of Democrats oppose such a move, 54 percent vs. 37 percent.

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