Clear & president danger: Poll shows Republicans more scared of Obama than Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Alexey Druzhinin)
A third of Republicans in the United States believe President Obama is a more imminent threat to their country than Russian President Vladimir Putin. They believe the same about Syria’s Bashar Assad, a poll has revealed.

There is no measure of apprehension or bad publicity the American right has not directed in the past at the Russian and Syrian governments. It may then come as a surprise to some that many see their biggest threat as originating from the inside.

Reuters and Ipsos polled 2,809 Americans in March to see where they stand on threats to the United States. Some 1,083 Democrats and 1,059 Republicans participated. Given a list of countries, organizations and individuals – and the choice to rank them on a scale from 1 to 5, a sizeable 34 percent of the population decided that Obama was an imminent threat. That’s 9 percent more than Putin.

READ MORE: Americans prefer fictional TV presidents over Obama – survey

Syria’s embattled President Assad is apparently also an existential threat to about a quarter of Americans, just behind the Russian president.

Experts, however, don’t believe the overall results to be all that surprising, given how polarized the US is along party lines.

"Fear mongering" by both parties is a much-loved pastime, especially in this 2016 presidential campaign, says sociologist and author of ‘The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are afraid of the wrong things’, Barry Glassner.

"The TV media here, and American politics, very much trade on fears," he continued.

Party-wise, 27 percent of Republicans were found to fear the Democrats. The figure is 22 percent in the reverse. Incidentally, 27 percent is also the number of Americans fearing Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Reuters found that the people polled were most concerned with potential terror threats on American soil. For that the Islamic State ranks top, with 57 percent, followed by Al-Qaeda, with 43 percent.


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un soared above both Putin and Obama, with 34 percent of Americans believing they're in imminent danger.

Of the threats not posed by known groups or prominent individuals, it was found that the US population is most scared of cyber-attacks and drug trafficking, sitting at 39 and 33 percent respectively.

Predictably, climate change was not a concern to most Republicans, only 27 percent of whom believe it’s anywhere on the threat map. However, only slightly more than a third of Democrats share the fear.