Polls of adult Americans over the last year show trends in threat perceptions and priorities in the terrorism and homeland security domain. I converted some of the findings from this CNN/Gallup poll into the following charts. These two questions captured an important metric about how a cross-section of the electorate is thinking.Â (The poll includes other questions that deal with Iraq, Iran, and Middle East peace specifically.)
When asked how worried they are that they would become a victim of terrorism, most said that they were â€œnot too worriedâ€ across the seventeen-month span of the survey ending in December. Being â€œsomewhat worriedâ€ ranked second consistently, but those asked were almost twice as likely to be not worried at all as opposed to very worried that they or a family member would be a victim of terrorism. Either there isnâ€™t all that much fear-mongering these days, or it isnâ€™t really registering.
And its still the economy, stupid. When asked about the â€œmost importantâ€ issue for determining who should be the next president, terrorism and the war in Iraq gradually give way to the economy. In fact, terrorism rarely ranks 12% as the most important issue. Last summer, Iraq dominated with 31% of the votersâ€™ attention. But through the fall and into December, despite the constant debate about funding our troops and whether/when to bring them home, Iraq could not compete with the credit crisis and job losses. The economy is the number one issue.