ISIS in Iraq
Members of Iraqi security forces hold an ISIS flag which they pulled down during a battle with the militants in al-Josaq district in western Mosul, Iraq, Feb. 27, 2017. REUTERS/Azad Lashkaril

ISIS and climate change are the two leading threats to national security, people around the world say, according to a Pew Research survey released Tuesday.

The survey, conducted from February 16 to May 8, polled nearly 42,000 people in 38 countries. Respondents were asked about eight possible threats: ISIS, climate change, cyberattacks, global economy, refugees coming from Iraq and Syria and lastly Russia, America and China’s power and influence. Answers varied by region, but ISIS and climate change stood out the most, the report said.

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ISIS was seen as the top threat in 18 countries, mostly in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. Meanwhile, climate change was seen as the biggest threat in 13 countries, mostly Latin America and Africa, and was the second-ranked concern in numerous other countries.

Around the world, 62 percent of respondents said they saw ISIS as the biggest threat, while climate change followed by just a point at 61 percent. Cyberattacks followed at 51 percent, global economy, at 51 percent; refugees, 39 percent; U.S. power and influence, 35 percent; Russia’s power and influence, 31 percent; and China’s power and influence, 31 percent.


Among Americans, 74 percent of respondents identified ISIS as the biggest threat.

ISIS was also seen as a major threat among European countries, where various terrorist attacks have happened lately, including the bombing at Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester, England. Respondents were especially worried about ISIS in France, with 88 percent of people naming the terrorist group as the biggest threat, and Italy at 85 percent.

Those in the Middle East and North Africa also saw ISIS as a top threat. In the Asia-Pacific region, ISIS is also a major concern, which isn’t surprising. Countries in Southeast Asia have been compating Islamic radicalization. In May, two suicide bombers killed three Indonesian police officers and injured several others at a bus station in Jakarta. Meanwhile, ISIS took control of the Philippine city of Marawi. As of June 16, the conflict there left 26 civilians, 58 soldiers and police and 202 militants dead.

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Climate Change

Americans were mostly concerned about ISIS and cyberattacks, while climate change came third at 56 percent. The number was in stark contrast when looking at political views. The survey found 86 percent of liberals saw climate change is a major threat, compared to 31 percent of conservatives.

Although climate change wasn’t seen as threatening to Americans, it was seen as a major concern among respondents in Spain (89 percent), Sweden (64 percent) and Canada (60 percent), where Canadians have been recently battling wildfires in British Columbia. Across 10 European countries, 56 percent said climate change is the biggest threat.

Those in sub-Saharan Africa were mostly worried about climate change, as well as respondents in Latin American countries. However, Venezuela and Brazil are mostly concerned about the global economy, which is not surprising when looking at the current economic hurdles the countries are facing.