A police officer deploys tape to an area near where authorities stopped a vehicle in San Bernardino, Calif., Dec. 2, 2015.
Photo by Damian Dovarganes/AP

Poll: Public split on biggest worry – terrorism vs. gun violence

As President Barack Obama is set to address the public after the terrorist shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., Americans are split on their biggest worry, with 36 percent saying it’s a terrorist attack and 31 percent saying it’s gun violence, according to a new MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist poll.

Another 17 said their biggest worry is being a victim of police brutality.

The results break down along partisan and racial lines: 60 percent of Republicans say being a victim of a terrorist attack is their biggest concern, versus just 22 percent of Democrats who say that.

Conversely, 40 percent of Democrats single out being a victim of gun violence as their biggest worry, compared with just 20 percent of Republicans saying that.

And 41 percent of African Americans indicate their biggest concern is being a victim of police brutality, versus just 11 percent of whites who say that.

The MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist poll was conducted Nov. 15-Dec. 2 – after the Paris terrorist attacks and partially after the shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado. But it was taken before the San Bernardino shootings.

The poll also finds a plurality of Americans – 28 percent – believing that jobs and the economy is the most important issue in determining their vote for president in 2016, while terrorism comes in second at 15 percent.

But once again, there’s a partisan divide here: 34 percent of Democrats say jobs/economy is their No. 1 issue, compared with 11 percent who say terrorism.

Yet among Republicans, 25 percent say their No. 1 issue is terrorism, and another 24 percent say it’s jobs/economy.

Another finding in the poll: Nearly seven-in-10 Americans – 69 percent – believe the United States will be able to defeat ISIS, versus 24 percent who say it won’t be able to defeat it. That sentiment is shared almost equally between Democrats and Republicans.

The MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist poll was conducted Nov. 15-Dec. 2 of 3,121 adults, and it has a margin of error of plus-minus 1.8 percentage points.

Other results from the poll will be unveiled Monday morning.