Americans Split On Trump's Handling Of Terror Threats

Most say it was inappropriate for the president to bash London's mayor after the London Bridge attack.
President Donald Trump and London Mayor Sadiq Khan
President Donald Trump and London Mayor Sadiq Khan

Americans are closely divided on the way President Donald Trump has reacted to the threat of terrorism, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, and give him mixed reviews for his tweets responding to the recent terrorist attack in London.

Forty-one percent approve of Trump’s handling of the threat of terrorism, while 44 percent disapprove. The remainder are unsure.

Among people who voted for Trump, 90 percent approve of his handling of the issue, compared with 6 percent of voters who supported Hillary Clinton. Non-voters and those who supported a third-party candidate are more evenly split, with 35 percent approving, 41 percent disapproving, and one-fourth not sure.

Trump issued a series of tweets after Saturday’s London Bridge terror attack, including several decrying the response of the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan.

Seventy percent of Americans, including a majority of both Clinton and Trump voters, think it was appropriate for the president to tweet a pledge that the U.S. would do whatever it can to help. Only 16 percent called that response inappropriate.

Nearly half think it was appropriate that Trump issued a call to “stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people,” although 34 percent found it inappropriate. Ninety-four percent of Trump voters, but only 15 percent of Clinton voters, found the tweet acceptable.

A majority of the public, 55 percent, says it was inappropriate for Trump to blast the London mayor, who said there was “no reason to be alarmed” by the increased police presence in London. Trump tried to portray the remark as downplaying the threat of terrorism. Just 26 percent of Americans say Trump’s criticism was appropriate.

Americans are divided more broadly on the proper tone for a politician to take in the aftermath of a terror attack. While 41 percent say it’s worse for a politician not to react strongly enough and to risk appearing weak, 33 percent say it’s worse to react too strongly and risk stoking fear.

Two-thirds of Americans say that they’re at least somewhat scared about the way things are going in the world, with one-fourth describing themselves as very scared. Those numbers are mostly consistent with polls conducted earlier this year.

Thirty-eight percent say they’re at least somewhat concerned that they or someone in their family will become a victim of terrorism. That’s basically unchanged from the 39 percent who said so in the wake of the May attack in Manchester, England, but up slightly from the 32 percent who said so in February.

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The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted June 5 to June 7 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.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

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.