Americans Rank Terrorism as Problem #1

The terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris have had a profound effect on the American psyche. The latest poll from Gallup finds that Americans now rank terrorism as the nation’s number one problem. In addition, “satisfaction with the way things are going” in the United States is down significantly. Here’s part of Gallup’s analysis:

terrorismWhile the San Bernardino mass shooting was likely the primary factor in the drop in Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S., it was not the only troubling news that could have driven the decline. Paris was hit by a terrorist attack on Nov. 13 that killed more than 120 people and prompted calls for a tougher U.S. strategy against the Islamic State group. In the U.S., a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic on Nov. 27 resulted in the deaths of three people. And a video of a white Chicago police officer killing a black teenager, who appeared to be walking away from him, was made public in late November. Meanwhile, in Baltimore, the trial began for one of the officers accused of being responsible for the death of Freddie Gray earlier this year.

But not all the news was negative. The government last Friday released a strong jobs report for November, prompting many to predict that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next week. If the stock market and economy appear to be improving in December, satisfaction could go up again.

Still, the major issue of the moment is terrorism. Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going in the country will most likely continue to reflect their perceptions of the way the terrorism situation is being handled, as long as the perceived threat remains high.

Gallup’s poll also found that Americans’ confidence in the federal government’s ability to protect them from terrorism is at a new low of 55%.

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