Academic journal article AEI Paper & Studies

The Terrorist Threat Now

Academic journal article AEI Paper & Studies

The Terrorist Threat Now

Article excerpt

Americans consistently rank terrorism as one of the most important problems in the US, and they believe a terrorist attack on US soil is likely in the near future. Even before the attacks in Paris, they considered ISIS a very serious threat to the United States. A majority of Americans disapprove of Obama's handling of ISIS, Syria, and foreign policy in general.

Q: Do you...?

The way Barack Obama is handling

             The situation with
             ISIS militants in   The situation in
             Iraq and Syria      Syria (*)         Foreign policy

Approve            31%                  34%              33%
Disapprove         54                   54               52

Note: (*) Question wording is, "Do you generally approve or disapprove
of the job Barack Obama is doing handling the situation in Syria?"
Source: ISIS militants, Foreign policy: CBS News/New York Times,
November 2015; the situation in Syria: NBC News/Wall Street Journal,
October 2015.

NOTE: table made from bar graph.

Q: Do you think...?

The United States and its allies are...

Winning the fight against ISIS    16%
Losing the fight against ISIS     66

Note: Asked of registered voters.
Source: Quinnipiac University, October-November 2015.

Q: Would you say...?

The Islamic militant group often referred to as ISIS represents...

A very serious threat           70%
A moderately serious threat     19
Just a slight threat             6
No threat at all                 3

Source: CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, October 2015.

Q: How would you say things are going for the US in its fight against the militant group ISIS in Iraq and Syria? Would you say...?

Things are going...

Very/Somewhat well     21%
Very/Somewhat badly    72

Source: CBS News/New York Times, November 2015.

Q: How likely do you think it is that in the near future there will be a terrorist attack in the United States causing large numbers of lives to be lost?

Very likely        32%
Somewhat likely    41
Not very likely    19
Not likely at all   5

Note: Asked of registered voters.
Source: Quinnipiac University, October-November 2015.

Q: Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with each of the following.

An incident like the attacks in Paris could happen near me

Strongly/Somewhat agree         63%
Strongly/Somewhat disagree      12
Neither agree nor disagree      17

Note: Online survey.
Source: Ipsos/Reuters, November 14-16, 2015.

NOTE: table made from bar graph.

The Syrian Threat

A month before the Paris attacks, 56 percent of Americans said the situation in Syria was not a threat to the United States but likely would be soon, and an additional 23 percent said the situation was an immediate threat. In a September 2015 Quinnipiac poll, 53 percent of registered voters opposed admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees to the US, while 41 percent supported the proposal. Fifty-eight percent said the proposal poses a national security threat to the US, while 36 percent said it does not.

Q: Which of the following comes closer to your point of view?

The situation in Syria is not
a threat to the United States           16%
Is not a threat to the United States
now but likely will be soon             56
Is an immediate threat to the
United States                           23

Source: NBC News/Wall Street Journal, October 2015.

NOTE: table made from bar graph.

Q: As you may know, the United States is actively helping the rebel forces opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad. Russia recently started a military offensive in Syria in support of President Assad and has targeted US-backed opposition fighters. Do you think...?

US national security interests
are at stake in the Syria situation       61%
Not at stake                              24

Note: Asked of registered voters.
Source: Fox News, October 2015. … 
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