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Al Qaeda "October surprise" poll
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, September 24, 2008

With almost 300 votes, the results of our reader poll about whether al-Qaeda would strike the US before the election are:

1. Which ticket would an al-Qaeda attack benefit?

McCain/Palin 82%
Obama/Biden 12%
Neither 6%

2. Who do you think al-Qaeda would prefer to win the US presidential election?

McCain 3%
Obama 89%
They don't care 8%

3. Given your reasoning based in the last two questions, do you think AQ will attempt an "October surprise"?

Yes 32%
No 68%

The results of question 1 and 2 don't surprise me that much. However, I was a little intrigued, given the assumption that AQ would do something like this to influence the US election in a direction it preferred, that 32% figured even if they wanted Obama and even if they figured such an attack would help McCain, they'd do it anyway.

Again, why would they do it in October if not to influence the election, and why would they do it if it could possibly have the opposite effect they desire? Of course no one said terrorists had to be rational or logical.

Some said it was because AQ still doesn't understand the US or our system. They had success in Spain and assume they'll have the same sort outcome here - the rejection of the present administration and party in favor of the opposition.

Some said "no" to an attack, not because they didn't think AQ would do it, but really didn't believe AQ was capable of doing it at this time.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

If I were al Qaeda, I’d do it, and if I were Obama, I’d be hoping they would. Remember in 2004 when John Kerry kept claiming that Bush had "made us less safe"? It was hard to sell that claim when there hadn’t been an attack on American soil in three years. It would be much easier in the immediate aftermath of an attack, and Obama could rely on the media to help him sell it.

It could backfire, but from where I sit the odds look good for Obama. Things have changed in the last seven years. The media have changed as well.

Written By: Midget Launcher
I rather pray for an "October Surprise" for AQ.
Written By: S.K.
I voted with the majority in every case, and I just figured that Al Qaeda was so dumb that despite the first two, they would still attack the third. We have seen multiple times that Al Qaeda has two tricks: (1) attack and (2) threaten to attack. In the last election, we saw the "threaten to attack" which was supposed to swing us to Kerry. It didn’t work, but does that mean they wouldn’t try attacking if they are capable? No. So, I think they would prefer Obama, and will attack to try and get it, even though I think the real result would benefit McCain.
Written By: Clark Taylor
URL: http://
i only wish they could release info on attacks that have been prevented already.
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
I started to pen an answer to why al Qaeda would try to influence the US elections irrespective of who that would benefit, but was distracted.

In short, I think AQ is like the hard left. They are absolutely tone deaf due to their insular world of how non-supplicants view them, their words, their deeds. Start killing Sunnis and some Shias to show that Americans are evil? Attack Sarah Palin as an ill-equipped country imbecile? Attacks like that work in drawing rooms populated by like-minded hyper-partisans - not in the real world.
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Al Qaeda does not understand us well. They are apparently cowards and assume others are, as well. I would not be surprised if they were to try something stupid and counterproductive. They’ve done it time and again.
Written By: Ron
URL: http://
Honestly, if al Qaeda were to use any strategy, I’d figure on them attacking after the election. It could either serve to discredit President Bush and McCain and make their strategies appear insufficient, or would show just how little Obama would do in the face of adversity. I just hope that our military intelligence is on top of it all and continues to keep our country safe, before or after the election.
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