The ISIS Effect

The ISIS Effect
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Today is the three week anniversary of the terror attack in San Bernardino, Calif., by radical Islamists that claimed 14 innocent lives and injured 22 others -- the deadliest terrorist strike on American soil since September 11, 2001. It's also the day that we received yet another poll of the 2016 Republican nomination race showing Donald Trump dominating the field, outpacing his nearest competitor by more than 20 points.

The dramatic infusion of terrorism and national security into the contest in recent weeks has transformed the race for president, particularly on the Republican side. Trump, with his tough talk about "bombing the hell out of ISIS" and his call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration to the United States, is not the only beneficiary of the "ISIS Effect." Ted Cruz, who has repeatedly said as president he would "carpet bomb" ISIS territory until "the sand glows," has also seen his numbers rise, as has Chris Christie, who in the last debate stressed his experience in prosecuting Islamic terrorists after 9/11.

In short, the Republican candidates who have been able to project strength in the wake of the twin terror attacks in Paris and California have gained support, while those candidates whose stance on national security has seemed insufficiently muscular have suffered. 

To put the ISIS effect into more relief, here's a look at how the top six Republican candidates' standing in the RCP national polling average has changed since the terror attacks in Paris on Nov. 13.  


Tom Bevan is the Co-Founder & Publisher of RealClearPolitics and the co-author of Election 2012: A Time for Choosing. Email:, Twitter: @TomBevanRCP

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