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Bigger Threat - al-Qaeda or ISIS?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

FBI Director James Comey recently announced that the radical Islamic State group (ISIS) now poses a bigger security threat to the United States than al-Qaeda does. Americans appear to agree.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 68% of Likely U.S. Voters think ISIS is a Very Serious threat to the United States. That compares to 58% who feel that way about al-Qaeda, the organization responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks, among others. Another 23% consider ISIS a somewhat serious threat to the homeland, while 32% say that of al-Qaeda.

Only eight percent (8%) rate each group as a not very or Not At All Serious security threat. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Significant majorities of voters across most demographic groups consider both organizations to be a Very Serious threat to the United States but tend to be more concerned about ISIS than al-Qaeda.

Over half of voters now believe that the United States is a more dangerous place than it was before 9/11.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 26-27, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Following a thwarted attack in Texas in May, most Americans agree that Islamic terrorism is now a bigger threat inside the United States. But a plurality (47%) believes the U.S. government focuses too little on the potential threat from domestic Islamic terrorism.

Voters 40 and older are more likely than younger voters to consider both ISIS and al-Qaeda Very Serious security threats.

Republicans take the threat of al-Qaeda and ISIS much more seriously than Democrats and voters not affiliated with either party.

Voters aren’t happy with the way President Obama is fighting the Islamic State group and increasingly suspect that ISIS is winning the war in Iraq.

But voters agree with the president that America is not at war with Islam, although they are far less convinced that the economic measures promoted at the White House summit on violent extremism earlier this year will help protect this country.

On the 13th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, 29% of Americans said al-Qaeda is stronger today than it was before the attacks. Just as many (29%), however, said the organization is weaker than it was before 9/11, while 25% considered the group’s strength is about the same.

Americans have a love/hate relationship with the National Security Agency, but the love side of the equation’s been growing as they worry more about the threat of Islamic terrorism.

Voters remain strongly supportive of using drones to kill suspected terrorists overseas. Most also believe the United States should use them even more.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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