Americans more afraid of gun violence than terrorism – poll

© Lucy Nicholson
More Americans are afraid of falling prey to gun violence than being victims of a terrorist attack, according to a new poll. As is often the case with surveys on that touch on sensitive issues, the results showed a distinct partisan split.

The McClatchy-Marist poll found that 63 percent of Americans said that they feared that they or someone they know would die from gun violence, compared to the 29 percent afraid that they or a friend will die from a terrorist attack.

The poll shows a divide between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to their perception of the threats. Democrats and independents lean heavily toward the belief that gun violence is a bigger threat, fearing guns by a margin of 77-15 percent and 64-28 percent respectively.

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Republicans, however, think that terrorism is a greater threat to their safety, but not by a particularly bigger margin. While 50 percent of Republicans think that that terror attacks are more terrifying, 45 percent thinks that dying from a being shot is worse. Those who identify as ‘Tea Party’ sympathizers showed similar but more pronounced feelings in this direction: they view terrorism as a bigger threat by a 57-37 margin.

“There are a lot of Republicans concerned about gun violence,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion that conducts the poll. “But Republicans are more concerned about issues of terrorism than about guns.”

This 2-to-1 concern over gun violence in lieu of terrorism reflects a turn inward toward domestic issues over such as the economy and healthcare, rather than the foreign issues that dominated politics in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

African-Americans are group most concerned about guns. Only 13 percent of the black Americans polled are afraid of a terrorist attack, but 71 percent say that they fear gun violence.

The poll comes during a time of increase scrutiny of the relationship between gun violence and gun rights. Though violent crime has been dropping since the early 1990s, heavily-covered instances of mass shootings have made guns an issue a prominent issue in the public consciousness.

President Barack Obama has repeatedly made calls for stricter gun control laws to be implemented following mass shootings, saying that such tragedies are endemic to the United States.

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