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ISIS Successful in Raising US Public Fears about Terrorism

Militant Islamist fighters take part in a military parade.

Coinciding with the rise of the Islamic State, public concern about Islamic fundamentalism as a critical threat is rated at 55 percent, the highest level since 2002 survey results.

Key Findings

Americans rate the top threats facing the United States as the possibility of violent Islamic extremists groups carrying out a major terrorist attack in the United States (72% a critical threat) and international terrorism (69%), along with the rise of violent Islamic extremist groups like ISIS in Iraq and Syria (64%). By comparison, Americans regard only the threat of cyberattacks against US computer systems (69%) as compared to that posed by terrorism. Concerns about nuclear proliferation (59%) and Iran’s nuclear program (57%) remain high, but no greater than they were in 2014. 

About the Author
Vice President, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy
Headshot for Dina Smeltz
Dina Smeltz, a polling expert, has more than 25 years of experience designing and fielding international social and political surveys. Prior to joining the Council to lead its annual survey of American attitudes on US foreign policy, she served in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the US State Department's Office of Research from 1992 to 2008.
Headshot for Dina Smeltz