As Donald Trump is inaugurated Friday, the new President will inherit a citizenry with polarized views on major threats to the United States. Democrats view climate change as a major threat, while Republicans believe immigrants living here represent a major threat.
According to Pew Research, there is more partisan agreement on threats posed by ISIS, North Korea and cyberattacks.
The new national survey conducted among 1,502 adults nationwide the first week of January noted an uptick from a year ago in concerns over Russian, as more than half of all Americans express concern about “Russia’s power and influence.” In the last year, Pew researchers said public concern over refugees from the Middle East has declined from 55 percent to 46 percent.
Perhaps the biggest partisan split centers on climate change, which 77 percent of Democrats see as a threat to US well-being contrasted with only 25 percent of Republicans.
On the flip side, 63 percent of Republicans believe Iraqi and Syrian refugees are a threat to the United States as opposed to 30 percent of Democrats.
Republicans and Democrats also vary on their views about Russia as a global threat. Sixty-seven percent of Democrats, but only 41 percent of Republicans call Russia a threat. However, “as recently as last April, the allegations that Russia hacked Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, Republicans were somewhat more likely than Democrats to view tensions with Russia as a major threat (46 percent to 37 percent). The flip-flop on partisan concerns over Russia extends to views of US sanctions imposed on Russia by President Obama.
Another trending divide involves Israel and Palestinians. Support for Israel has been a mainstay of Democratic politics since President Harry Truman played a role inc reading the modern state of Israel. Now, Democrats are more ambivalent, according to Pew research, with 33 percent sympathizing with Israel, 31 percent siding with the Palestinians and 35 percent favoring both or expressing no opinion.
Democrats are more optimistic (60 percent) about a so-called two-state solution will bring peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors. Republicans are more skeptical as just 44 percent agreeing a two-state solution would work. Pew notes that the partisan gap in Mideast sympathies is the widest since 1978.
There is much closer agreement over the threat posed by cyberattacks Democrats (75 percent; Republicans 67 percent). This reflects a minor shift in relative concerns. Previously, this was a larger fear for Republicans than Democrats.
The survey also found Americans still hold a favorable view of the United Nations and an unfavorable view of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
While there is little partisan disagreement over threats posed by North Korea’s nuclear program and ISIS terrorism, there are mixed feelings as to whether China is a threat. China’s power and influence is viewed by Republicans as a greater threat than by Democrats.