Pew: Americans’ Confidence in Gov’t, Obama to Take on Terrorism at All Time Low

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The Associated Press

The share of Americans who say the government is fairing well in reducing the threat of terrorism has plummeted by 26 percentage points since the start of 2015, reaching its lowest level since September 11, 2001, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.

Pew reports that a poll conducted following the Paris and San Bernardino attacks — from December 8-13 — reveals that the level of confidence Americans have in their government to keep them safe from terror has significantly declined from 72 percent to 46 percent.

Additionally, American’s approval of the way President Obama is handling the terrorist threat has declined as well. While 37 percent approve of Obama’s approach to terrorism, 57 percent disapprove. Pew reports the level represents the lowest of his presidency.

Public concerns about the government infringing on civil liberties in order to fight terrorism have also declined to 28 percent, reaching their lowest level in five years, according to Pew. Now 56 percent of Americans say they are more worried that policies have not been expansive enough to keep the country safe.

While the percentage of Americans concerned about terror at home has grown, the level of worry over the rise of Islamic extremism around the world, according to Pew, remains around the elevated level the poll found in September of 2014 — or 62 percent.

Americans are divided on the question of whether the Islamic religion inspires more violence than other religions. With 46 percent of Americans saying Islam is more likely than other religions to inspire violence, while 45 percent disagreed. Republicans were more likely than Democrats to see Islam as a religion that encourages violence.

Fewer Americans were likely to agree with the idea that Muslims should be subject to additional scrutiny due to their religion with 61 percent disagreeing with the idea, however a majority of conservative Republicans, 57 percent, agreed that Muslims should receive more scrutiny than other groups.

The poll – conducted among 1,500 adults — also found that the public trusts the GOP more than Democrats to handle terrorism, according to Pew, 46 percent to 34 percent who thought Democrats could handle the threat better.