A recent opinion survey asked a sampling of Americans: “Which is a bigger terrorist threat to the United States today – radical Muslims, the Tea Party, local militia groups, the Occupy Wall Street movement, or other religious or political extremists?”
In reply, 51 percent of likely voters deemed Islamists the greatest terrorist threat, with Obama opponents weighing in at 75 percent and his supporters at 29 percent. In the words of the pollster, “Conservatives overwhelmingly see radical Muslims as the greater terror threat. Liberals are fairly evenly divided between radical Muslims and the Tea Party.”
The other named groups lagged far behind: Tea Party, 13 percent; other political and religious extremists, 13 percent; local militia groups, 6 percent; and Occupy Wall Street, 2 percent. That leaves 15 percent who did not answer or did not know.
Technicalities: 1,000 likely U.S. voters, national telephone survey taken by Rasmussen Reports on June 22-23, 2013, margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence, field work conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.
Comments: (1) The stunningly high 51 percent figure confirms the analysis I offered at “Education by Murder in Boston,” in the aftermath of the marathon bombing, that “every act of Muslim aggression against non-Muslims, be it violent or cultural, recruits more activists to the anti-jihad cause, more voters to insurgent parties, more demonstrators to anti-immigrant street efforts, and more donors to anti-Islamist causes.” And, of course, it also increases the number of voters who express their worries about Islamist violence to pollsters.
(2) Those worries start with Islamist violence and then evolve into a broader concern with Islam, such as I illustrated in the same article, where crushing majorities of between 56 and 86 percent in France and Germany worry about Islamic values, Islamic intolerance, fanaticism, and misogyny.
June 28, 2013 update: A number of readers have pointed out that I was too impressed by the 51 percent number, especially in the context of the choices offered (Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, etc.). They are right. The Tea Party, for one, has never engaged in violent activity, so how can it be considered a terror danger at all?