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.

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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
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Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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