Fox News Poll: Terrorists and Guns Are Rattling Americans, Say Voters

Orlando Shooter Mateen

An increasing number of voters say the terrorists are winning the war against the United States.  Over half think profiling and stricter gun laws would make the country safer.  Meanwhile, 4-in-10 voters say shootings like the one in Orlando make them feel they need to own a gun.

That’s according to a new Fox News Poll.

Currently, 44 percent think the United States and its allies are winning the war on terrorism.  That’s down from 49 percent in 2010.  Nearly as many, 41 percent, say the terrorists are winning.  That’s up from 31 percent.  The shift comes mainly from Republicans, who are much less likely to say the U.S. is winning now (27 percent) than they were six years ago (48 percent).  Democrats are more likely to say the U.S. is winning today than in 2010 by five points.

The poll, released Wednesday, was conducted Sunday through Tuesday evenings.  Suicide bombers attacked the Istanbul airport Tuesday, causing 41 deaths and injuring at least 230 more.


A large 84-percent majority thinks most Americans today are feeling more nervous than confident about stopping terrorist attacks.  That’s up significantly from 50 percent in 2005 (the last time the question was asked by Fox).  Only one-in-ten say Americans are feeling more confident than nervous that the U.S. can prevent attacks (11 percent).

What would make the country safer?  Fifty-nine percent think “using profiling techniques to increase government surveillance on certain types of individuals” would increase safety, and 52 percent say “passing stricter gun control laws.”

Forty-one percent of voters say “encouraging more citizens to carry weapons to defend themselves” would make us safer, yet almost as many, 37 percent, say less safe.

Fifty-three percent support a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S., yet only 40 percent think such an action would make the country safer.

There are greater concerns than terrorist attacks.  Most voters are extremely or very concerned about the price of health care (85 percent) and the economy (84 percent).

Those concerns are above gun laws (79 percent concerned), attacks by Islamic terrorists (78 percent) and attacks by non-Islamic terrorists (68 percent).  Smaller numbers, yet still majorities, are worried about illegal immigration (62 percent) and climate change (56 percent).

Since last June, concern is higher by 11 points on guns, nine points on Islamic terrorist attacks, and six points on the economy.

The top concerns among Republicans are attacks by Islamic terrorists (92 percent concerned) and the economy (89 percent).  For Democrats, it’s the price of health care (82 percent), climate change (81 percent), and the economy (80 percent).

Voters worried about gun laws prefer Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the general election (48-36 percent).  Those concerned about attacks by Islamic terrorists and immigration back Trump over Clinton (45-39 percent and 52-32 percent respectively).  Voters concerned about the economy split:  42 Trump vs. 41 Clinton.

Views are divided over whether the June 12 shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando is better described as a “mass murder” (45 percent) or a “terrorist attack” (43 percent).


The Muslim gunman pledged allegiance to ISIS as he killed 49 people and wounded more than 50 others.  He was born in the United States to parents from Afghanistan.

By an eight-point margin, voters think there would be fewer victims of mass shootings if more people carried guns (47 percent) than if guns were banned (39 percent).

Gun sales typically increase following a major shooting.  The poll asked voters to pick between two opposite reactions after an event like Orlando.  For 40 percent their response is “I need to get a gun,” while 33 percent feel “The country has got to get rid of guns.”

Forty-six percent of voters report living in a household where someone owns a gun.  These gun owners are more likely to call the Orlando shooting a terrorist attack (53 percent), to think there would be fewer shooting victims if more people carried guns (66 percent), and to feel the need to buy a gun after a shooting (58 percent).

President Obama’s job rating remains in positive territory:  50 percent of voters approve of his performance, while 47 percent disapprove.  In early June it was 51-46 percent (June 5-8).


Before that, the last time Obama’s job rating was this high was just before he was re-elected in 2012, when 51 percent approved and 46 percent disapproved (October 28-30, 2012).

Voters split on the job Obama’s doing on the economy, as 48 percent both approve and disapprove.  Still, that’s his best issue.  He receives lower marks for his handling of health care (44 approve vs. 53 disapprove), foreign policy (43-50 percent), and terrorism (43-53 percent).


His worst ratings are on gun control.  Only 36 percent of voters approve, while 59 percent disapprove.  That’s up from a record low 35 percent approval in January 2014.

While 87 percent of Democrats approve of Obama’s overall job performance, that drops to 63 percent on gun control.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,017 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from June 26-28, 2016.  The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.