CEP Global Research: Comprehensive Survey Results U.S. and Europe

As part of its effort to educate the public about the dangers of extremism while building best-in-class clearinghouses and databases, CEP conducts extensive and comprehensive survey research in multiple countries. By establishing this ‘base-line’ understanding of the public’s attitudes and knowledge of extremism, CEP is best positioned to 1) measure the efficacy of counter-extremism efforts in multiple nations; 2) gauge the public’s growth in understanding of the dangers of extremism and specific extremist groups; and 3) harness that understanding into CEP projects and campaigns to bring to bear public energy against extremist groups and their supporters.

Download Full Report

Key Takeaways


Islamic extremism & ISIS are seen as the greatest threat to national security

  • Islamic extremism is seen as the greatest threat to national security in the U.S. & Europe
    • – It has doubled in the U.S. from 13% to 26% as the top threat
      • Seen as top threat by Republicans, Independents, and Opinion Leaders. Second among Democrats
    • –Concern jumped 15% in Europe from 41% in June to 56% in September
  • ISIS is now seen as a direct threat to the U.S.
    • – 82% of Americans see ISIS as a direct threat to the U.S.
      • Taliban ranks slightly behind at 79%
      • Hamas is ranked at 55% and Boko Haram at 35%
  • Iraq & Syria have grown as a perceived threat since May in U.S.
    • – Iraq jumped from 70% to 76%
    • – Syria jumped from 65% to 72%

TakeawaysTerrorism & Foreign Policy poll numbers have increased since May

  • Nearly twice as many Americans & Europeans believe terrorism is the most important issue today
    • – Polls increased from 5% to 10% from May to August in the U.S.
      • Distinct differences can be shown among Republicans and Democrats
    • – Polls nearly doubled from 4% to 9% from June to September in Europe
  • Foreign policy issues rose rapidly as the most important issue in the U.S. and Europe
    • – Foreign policy issues nearly tripled in the U.S. (3% to 8%) from May to August
    • – Foreign policy issues in Europe jumped from 1% to 6% from June to September
  • Economic issues, healthcare, and education remain top of mind among voters across Europe and the U.S.

American views on action against ISIS

  • Americans display war mentality toward ISIS
  • U.S. voters support recent military strikes on ISIS; plurality would like to see more:
    • – 67% voters support more military action; 22% oppose
    • – 80% of Opinion Leaders support more military action; 13% oppose
    • – Support is across the board: 78% Republicans; 66% Independents; and 60% Democrats
  • Majority of voters think we should do more or at least maintain the current course in fighting ISIS; small minority think we should do less:
    • – 40% want more military action
    • – 34% want to stay the course
    • – 16% want less

American views on action against Islamic extremism

  • In May, a plurality believed fighting Islamic extremism should be a top priority.In August, it moved to where a majority believe it should be a top priority
    • – 51% say it should be a top priority, which is up from 45% in May
    • – This is driven by Republican voters, where 66% support this belief
  • In May, a plurality of people said the U.S. is spending too much time fighting Islamic extremism
  • Today, a plurality believes that the U.S. spends too little time fighting Islamic extremism

European views on action against ISIS

  • A majority of British, French, Dutch & Swedish voters support U.S. military engagement against ISIS
    • – Spain & Germany oppose U.S. involvement
  • Europeans are split over whether the U.S. & European allies should commit ground troops to target ISIS fighters
    • – French, Swedish & Dutch voters are more likely to agree, whereas British & German voters are opposed
  • Right-of-center voters support ground troops while left-of-center voters are more reluctant to agree
Download Full Report

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On October 4, 2017, suspected ISIS fighters ambushed a military vehicle convoy outside the village of Tongo Tongo in Tillabéri, Niger. Five Nigeriens, four U.S. soldiers, and at least 21 militants were killed. The attack also left eight Nigeriens and two American troops wounded.   

View Archive

CEP on Twitter