WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) — Americans’ satisfaction with security from terrorism has dropped significantly in the wake of the recent terror attacks in France and California, found a Gallup poll released Monday.
Only 43 percent of Americans now say they are satisfied with the nation’s security from terrorism, compared with 59 percent in January 2015 and 69 percent in January 2014, Gallup said.
With the 2016 presidential campaign about to hit full speed and Islamic State (IS) terrorists having successfully executed attacks in the U.S. and abroad in recent months, it is inevitable that national security issues will be a major part of both parties’ campaign, Gallup said.
The poll showed the recent radical Islamist attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people in November, and in California, where 14 people were killed in December, have clearly shaken Americans.
As a result, Americans’ trust in the government’s ability to protect its citizens has sharply declined, pushing terrorism to the forefront of the nation’s most important problems.
As such, Americans’ views on what the U.S. should do to combat terrorism will heavily influence both the presidential and congressional elections this fall, and the election results could profoundly affect the outcome of the daunting national security challenges now facing this country, Gallup said.
U.S. President Barack Obama, criticized by Republicans for his handling of terrorism, has explicitly attempted to quell Americans’ fears — first in an Oval Office address four days after the California terrorist attacks, and again in his State of the Union address on Jan. 12.
Although satisfaction has dropped over the past two years among every major demographic group, attitudes about terrorism show a strong political split. Only a quarter of Republicans and conservatives are satisfied, compared with a majority of liberals, at 56 percent, and Democrats, at 51 percent.
Major splits also occur by region and age. Midwesterners and those aged 55 and older are among the least satisfied. Those on the West Coast, at 52 percent, and and adults younger than 35 years old, at 53 percent, are the most satisfied.
Satisfaction with the nation’s military strength and preparedness — another key measure of Americans’ confidence in their national security — has also fallen, from 69 percent last January to 59 percent now.
Among Republicans, 38 percent say they are satisfied, compared with 64 percent of independents and 72 percent of Democrats.