Politics

Poll: Terrorism Jumps Ahead Of The Economy As Americans' Number One Concern

| by Robert Fowler
Dec. 14 Gallup PollDec. 14 Gallup Poll

Following the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, terrorism has become the top concern among Americans.

Gallup poll results released on Dec. 14 showed that 16 percent of respondents named terrorism as the most pressing problem facing the U.S. -- up from just 3 percent in November, and marking the highest volume of concerns about terrorism Gallup has received in a decade. 

Coming in second at 13 percent was the government. Nine percent of respondents named the economy as the chief problem, and 7 percent said the most pressing issue was guns, which is up from 3 percent in November.

Overall, self-identifying Republicans were more concerned about terrorism than Democrats by 15 percentage points.

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While concerns over terrorism have gone up, anxiety over the economy has reached its lowest point since 2007, before the 2008 financial meltdown, when it peaked at 58 percent as the most pressing U.S. problem.

(Gallup poll chart showing recent trends in "Most Important" U.S. problems, from June to December 2015. Photo Credit: Gallup)

Gallup notes that, historically, respondents have been more likely to name terrorism as a chief concern in the immediate aftermath of an attack, but that the numbers go down after months without a comparable incident.

(Gallup poll chart showing the views of terrorism as the most important U.S. problem from October 2001 to December 2015. Photo Credit: Gallup)

This correlates with guns being listed as one of the chief issues, with respondents increasingly naming firearms as the biggest problem shortly after a high-profile mass shooting, only for the numbers to dwindle after time passes.

While these results are likely to shift in the months to come, terrorism overtaking the economy as the biggest concern among Americans will likely influence the upcoming U.S. presidential election.

Poll results released by Rasmussen Reports on Dec. 11 found that since the terrorist attacks in Paris and California, business mogul Donald Trump’s status as the likely GOP nominee has increased, possibly aided by his controversial calls for extreme measures to combat terrorism, such as a ban on all Muslims from entering the U.S.

Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has based his campaign for the Democratic nomination on addressing income inequality, will likely struggle to remain relevant in the national conversation if terrorism continues to trump the economy as a national concern.

Sources: Gallup, Rasmussen Reports / Photo Credit: Gallup