Politics & Government

On eve of Obama speech, Americans feel far less safe than a year ago

Monday, June 30, 2014 - militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) celebrate the group's declaration of an Islamic state, in Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq. The militant extremist group's unilateral declaration of an Islamic state is threatening to undermine its already-tenuous alliance with other Sunnis who helped it overrun much of northern and western Iraq. (AP Photo)
Monday, June 30, 2014 - militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) celebrate the group's declaration of an Islamic state, in Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq. The militant extremist group's unilateral declaration of an Islamic state is threatening to undermine its already-tenuous alliance with other Sunnis who helped it overrun much of northern and western Iraq. (AP Photo) AP

Americans feel far less safe than they have in recent years, and overwhelmingly disapprove of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Obama’s prime time address to the nation help could reverse those trends, an analysis of the Sept. 3-7 survey suggests. Sixty-one percent support military action against the militant group ISIS is “in the nation’s interest.” Forty percent said such action should only include air strikes, while about one-third said it could also include combat troops.

Obama and Democrats, though, have some confidence-building to do. The poll found that 32 percent approve of Obama’s handling of foreign policy. Republicans get higher marks for dealing with foreign policy and defense.

People also feel less safe. Forty-seven percent said they felt less safe today than before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, up from 28 percent a year ago.

A separate poll by the Pew Research Center, released Wednesday, found the public has become more concerned about Islamic extremism.

Sixty-two percent said they were “very concerned,” the biggest number since 2007.

Other findings: “Roughly four-in-ten (42 percent) say the government is doing ‘not too well’ or ‘not at all well’ in reducing the terror threat, up 16 points from November. While the new survey does not ask about ISIS specifically, 67 percent last month identified the militant group in Iraq and Syria as a ‘major threat’ to the U.S.”

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