Terrorism now tops list of voter concerns

Story highlights

  • Nearly one in five Americans believe terrorism is the country's most important problem
  • Fear of a terrorist attack is higher than at any other time since the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001

Washington (CNN)Terrorism has eclipsed the economy as voters' top pick for the biggest issue facing America, a New York Times/CBS News poll has found.

Last month only 4% of Americans said terrorism was the most important problem, according to the New York Times. Now nearly one in five -- 19% -- believe it is. Previous recent NYT/CBS polls found the economy was the top challenge.
Following terrorist attacks in Paris and in San Bernardino, California, the poll said Americans are more fearful about the likelihood of another terrorist attack than at any other time since the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001. Most of the survey was conducted before Donald Trump suggested temporarily blocking Muslims from entering the U.S.
    More than four in 10 Americans -- 44% -- believe an attack is "very" likely to happen in the next few months. And 70% say that ISIS is a major threat to America's security.
    Nearly 60% of people are "very" concerned about the threat of terrorism against Americans committed by elements entering the U.S. from other countries. And 63% are "very" concerned about the threat of terrorism against Americans committed by people currently living in the U.S. who are inspired by foreign extremists.
    Most Americans -- 57% -- disapprove of President Barack Obama's handling of terrorism, with 70% saying the fight against ISIS is going badly.
    The telephone poll of 1,275 adults was conducted from Dec. 4 to 8, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.