Americans Say Their Way Of Life Is Threatened

| by Nik Bonopartis
A bald eagle in front of an American flag.A bald eagle in front of an American flag.

Americans feel their way of life is threatened, according to a new poll.

Forty-seven percent of people who responded to the Monmouth University poll said the American way of life is facing "a great deal" of threat, while an additional 31 percent told pollsters said their lifestyles face "some" threat.

The single biggest threat, according to those surveyed, is Islamic terrorism, with 61 percent of respondents putting it at the top of their lists.

Threats No. 2 and No. 3 are the man and woman vying to be president of the United States. Fifty-four percent said they're worried about the prospect of a presidency under Republican Donald Trump, while 42 percent said they're worried about Democrat Hillary Clinton's potential administration.

Those findings underscore how deeply unpopular both candidates are, with polls routinely finding the majority of voters dislike both candidates. In a May analysis of polling numbers, FiveThirtyEight found that Trump and Clinton are the two most unpopular major party candidates, and a closer look at the statistics from polls showed those negative attitudes couldn't simply be attributed to political polarization.

But the presidential candidates look like beloved figures compared to Congress -- only 14 percent of people polled said lawmakers are doing a good job, while 78 percent disapprove.

At least some of the doomsday attitudes can be attributed to the right-left political divide, said Patrick Murray, Monmouth's polling director. Seventy percent told pollsters they don't think Americans are united on important issues.

"We are seeing a mixed bag of results here," Murray said. "Voters claim they trust the American people to make political decisions, but it seems that may only apply if they actually agree with those decisions.  And the conflict they see among their political leaders doesn't boost confidence."

Political independents were split down the middle when asked if Trump or Clinton was a bigger threat, while people who describe themselves as Democrats and Republicans are mostly split along party lines.

"It seems that voters' confidence in the American system of government is based more on which party they think will be elected to power rather than an underlying belief in the strength of our democracy," Murray said.

Sources: Monmouth University, FiveThirtyEight / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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