Although a majority of Americans remain satisfied with the nation's security from terrorism, this measure has dropped 10 percentage points since last year, from 69% to 59%, and is now back where it was in 2008.
The latest update on Americans' satisfaction with terrorism and other aspects of American life comes from Gallup's Jan. 5-8 Mood of the Nation poll. The interviewing dates for this poll overlapped the Jan. 7 terrorist attack on the headquarters of French newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Although that attack was not against Americans, it received widespread U.S. media attention, likely making the terrorism issue more salient in Americans' minds, said Gallup.
Satisfaction with the nation's handling of terrorism over the past 13 years has varied from as low as 51% in January 2002 -- months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks -- to the high point of 72% in January 2012. The measure was at 70% in January 2004, just a few weeks after the Dec. 13, 2003, capture of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein outside his hometown of Tikrit, Iraq.
Despite this year's drop in feeling secure from terrorism, it remains near the top of the list of 27 dimensions of U.S. life tested in this January's poll -- below only Americans' ratings of their overall quality of life, U.S. military strength and preparedness, and the opportunity to work hard and get ahead.
Despite the downturn in satisfaction with how the nation is handling terrorism, Americans' likelihood of mentioning terrorism as the nation's most important problem is little changed over the past four or five years. In the Jan. 5-8 survey, 2% of Americans say terrorism is the most important U.S. problem, dwarfed by mentions of other issues such as dysfunctional government, the economy, immigration, jobs and the national debt. Mentions of terrorism on this measure have been in the low single digits for most of the past eight years.
Although Americans' satisfaction with the nation's security from terrorism has slipped 10 points from last year, it remains in majority territory, said Gallup. It is also one of the four elements of life in the U.S. that Gallup measures about which Americans are most positive. The drop from last year may in part reflect the continuing instances of terrorist activity around the globe, including the ongoing Islamic State conflict in the Middle East and the attack on Charlie Hebdo, which occurred while the survey was being conducted. At the same time, few Americans name terrorism as the most important problem facing the nation.
Read more: www.gallup.com/poll/181199