Obama Sees Worst Rating on Handling of Terrorism in His Career

November 20, 2015

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, President Obama has earned his worst rating on his handling of terrorism in his career.

Currently, 54 percent of U.S. adults disapprove of the way in which Obama is handling terrorism threats, the worst such rating in his White House career, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Friday. Forty-three percent of Americans disapprove strongly of the president’s handling of terror threats.

Americans are particularly critical of Obama’s response to the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL or ISIS), the terrorist group that claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks in Paris and that has also threatened attacks on the United States. Fifty-seven percent of U.S. adults disapprove of Obama’s handling of IS, with 46 percent doing so strongly.

Obama has characterized the Paris attacks, which occurred one day after he insisted the U.S. had "contained" IS, as a "setback."

The poll, conducted between Nov. 16 and 19 in the days following the Paris attacks that killed 130 people, also indicated that nearly three-quarters of Americans want the U.S. to participate in a military response to the Islamic State.

Seventy-three percent support increased U.S. airstrikes against the terror group in the Middle East, and 60 percent back an increased use of U.S. ground forces to fight IS in Iraq and Syria.

Majorities from both parties are in favor of an increased use of ground forces, with 73 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats supporting such military action.

Americans largely believe that a major terrorist attack is imminent for the United States. Eighty-one percent of U.S. adults expect such an attack on the U.S., the highest point for this figure since after the September 11 terror attacks save one poll taken in the wake of the London transit system attacks in 2005.

And, a majority of Americans oppose the U.S. admitting refugees from Syria and other nations in the Middle East even as Obama plans to push forward with his plan to allow at least 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country in the current fiscal year.

Lawmakers, particularly Republicans, have raised concerns about security threats arising from the refugee program in the wake of the Paris attacks. On Thursday, the House passed a bill that would block Syrian and Iraqi refugees from entering the U.S. unless they passed strict background checks.

Obama has threatened to veto the legislation.