Only about a quarter of Americans say they’re “very scared” by current world events, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds, and fewer than 1 in 10 harbor significant worries that they will be personally affected by an act of terrorism.
Overall, 23 percent of the public say they’re very scared about the way things are going in the world today. Another 41 percent say they’re somewhat scared, and 27 percent say they’re not very or not at all scared.
Use the widget below to explore the results of HuffPost/YouGov’s survey, using the menu at the top to select survey questions and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups:
In his first month in office, President Donald Trump has repeatedly stressed the threat of terrorism, and accused the media of failing to cover attacks. But just under a third of the public say they worry even somewhat that they or someone in their family will become a victim of terrorism, with only 9 percent saying the possibility worries them a great deal. Most people, 58 percent, say it worries them not so much or not at all.
Fears that they or someone in their family will become a victim of gun violence stand at a similar level, with 32 percent saying the idea worries them at least somewhat, and 8 percent saying the possibility worries them a great deal.
As in past surveys, Americans’ most pressing personal worries revolve around their well-being and financial livelihoods. Asked to pick their top two concerns from a list, 38 percent say they most worry that they or someone in their family will suffer a serious illness or injury, and 39 percent say they’re most concerned that they or someone in their family will lose a job or have financial problems. Just 18 percent say they’re most worried about gun violence or terrorism.
Levels of concern seem to have come down somewhat since a HuffPost/YouGov poll taken last fall. The percentage of Americans at least somewhat worried that they or someone in their family will become a victim of terrorism has dropped by 10 points, while the percentage naming gun violence or terrorism as one of their top two concerns is down by 12 points.
To the extent that there’s been a shift, there are several possible explanations, each with very different political implications. One possibility is that Trump’s presence at the helm has reassured Americans. Another is that his administration’s dark vision of the world has failed to frighten the public. And a third is that the change has little to do with the White House at all ― that it actually reflects the lack of major recent attacks, the end of election-season debates over issues like terrorism, or simply more or less random fluctuation.
It’s clear, however, that partisanship plays a role in Americans’ levels of worry. Democrats are now 26 points likelier than they were last fall to say they’re “very scared” about the way things are going in the world. Republicans, by contrast, are 18 points less likely than they were last year to describe themselves as “very scared.”
The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Feb. 14-15 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.
Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.