A poll taken in the same week as the mass shootings in San Bernardino, California, and Colorado Springs, Colorado, reveals that Americans fear homegrown terrorists more than militant foreign nationals who could come into the U.S. disguised as refugees. The Quinnipiac University national poll, released Thursday, finds that 58 percent of American voters think homegrown terrorists are the greater threat.
“Americans are far more concerned about the threat from within, homegrown terrorists, than they are about someone being welcomed to the U.S. as a refugee and committing an act of terror,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, in a news release.
Only 16 percent of American voters said they believe that terrorists are hiding among Syrian refugees and pose a greater threat than homegrown terrorists. Seventeen percent of Americans said they were afraid of radicalized foreign visitors coming to the U.S.
The poll was taken after the terror attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 that left 130 people dead. The Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, claimed responsibility for those attacks. With several of the suspects having ties to Syria, governors in a majority of American states said after the attack that they are unwilling to accept Syrian refugees for resettlement. President Barack Obama has said that the U.S. would accept 10,000 refugees from Syria.
“Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families,” Obama said.
The poll found that 52 percent of respondents do not want to accept Syrian refugees, with the largest opposition, at 84 percent, coming from registered Republican voters.
With multiple mass shootings as well as several terror attacks taking place overseas, including the downing of a Russian airliner over Egypt in October that killed all 224 people onboard, 83 percent of Americans fear that a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” in the near future.
The poll was conducted from Nov. 23-30 and surveyed 1,453 registered voters across the U.S. There was a 2.6 percentage point margin of error.