Poll: Majority of Voters Fear ‘Homegrown Jihadists,’ Most Oppose Accepting Syrian Refugees

3 Dec 2015

Most voters oppose accepting Syrian refugees into the U.S., but they see homegrown terrorists as a greater threat, according to a new poll.

A Quinnipiac University National poll reveals that 52 percent of American voters are opposed to resettling Syrian refugees, while 42 percent are supportive of accepting Syrian refugees.

Republicans were more likely to be opposed to resettling Syrian refugees in the U.S. with 84 percent opposing the proposition compared to 14 percent supporting it. Democrats on the other hand were more supportive, 68 percent supporting versus 23 percent opposed to resettling Syrian refugees in the U.S. Independent voters were more evenly split, however more were opposed to resettlement — 49 percent opposed compared to with 46 supportive.

A majority of voters say the security vetting for Syrian refugees should be increased, both with and without an explanation of how the government currently screens refugees. However fewer said it should be stricter with the description: 69 percent said the screening should be stricter without the description and 53 said it should be stricter with a description.

While voters polled were largely opposed to accepting Syrian refugees, 58 percent of voters said they saw “homegrown jihadists” as a greater threat to the U.S., while 16 percent saw “terrorists refugees” as the greater threat, and 17 percent said “radicalized visitors” were the greatest threat.

Additionally a majority of voters — 83 percent — said they believe a terrorist attack in the U.S. “in the near future” is “very likely” or “somewhat likely.”

“Not if, but when, say Americans when asked about the likelihood of a terrorist attack on the U.S.,” Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll said. “More than 80 percent say it’s likely and a large majority says the government isn’t doing enough to prevent it.”

Additionally 61 percent of Americans said the government’s anti-terror policies have “ gone far enough” and 27 percent said they have “gone too far” infringing on civil liberties.

The poll of 1,453 registered voters was conducted from November 23 – 30 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points.