Wow! Many Repubicans See President Obama as More Imminent Threat than Putin

President Barack Obama speaks during an interview in the library of the White House Photo: REUTERS
President Barack Obama speaks during an interview in the library of the White House Photo: REUTERS

A third of Republicans believe Barack Obama poses an imminent threat to the United States, outranking concerns about Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, and Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president.

A Reuters/Ipsos online poll this month asked 2,809 Americans to rate how much of a threat a list of countries, organisations and individuals posed to the United States on a scale of 1 to 5, with one being no threat and 5 being an imminent threat.

The poll showed 34 per cent of Republicans ranked Mr Obama as an imminent threat, ahead of Mr Putin (25 per cent), who has been accused of aggression in the Ukraine, and Mr Assad (23 per cent). Western governments have alleged that the Syrian president used chlorine gas and barrel bombs on his own citizens.

Given the level of polarisation in American politics the results are not that surprising, said Barry Glassner, a sociologist and author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are afraid of the wrong things.

“There tends to be a lot of demonising of the person who is in the office,” Nr Glassner said, adding that “fear mongering” by the Republican and Democraticparties would be a mainstay of the US 2016 presidential campaign.

“The TV media here, and American politics, very much trade on fears,” he said.

The Ipsos survey, done between March 16 and March 24, included 1,083 Democrats and 1,059 Republicans.

Twenty-seven per cent of Republicans saw the Democratic Party as an imminent threat to the United States, and 22 per cent of Democrats deemed Republicans to be an imminent threat.

People who were polled were most concerned about threats related to potential terror attacks. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants were rated an imminent threat by 58 percent of respondents, and al-Qaeda by 43 percent. Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader was viewed as a threat by 34 per cent, andIran‘s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei by 27 per cent.

Cyber attacks were viewed as an imminent threat by 39 per cent, and drug trafficking was seen as an imminent threat by a third of the respondents.

Democrats were more concerned about climate change than Republicans, with 33 per cent of Democrats rating global warming an imminent threat. Among Republicans, 27 per cent said climate change was not a threat at all.

The data was weighted to reflect the US population and has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points for all adults (3.4 points for Democrats and 3.4 points for Republicans).

Source: Reuters

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