Gallup: Cyberterrorism Tops the List of Americans’ ‘Critical Concerns’

(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

( – Cyberterrorism tops the list of Americans’ « critical » concerns, followed by North Korean nuclear weapons, Iranian nuclear weapons, and terrorism both here and abroad, according to a new Gallup poll.

The poll was conducted Feb. 1-17, 2022, before Russia’s Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, an event that may shift the « critical » concerns in future polls.

In the random telephone survey, Gallup asked 1,008 adults, Gallup read a list of « possible threats to the vital interests of the United States in the next 10 years. »

Gallup asked the respondents to describe each item on the list « as a critical threat, and important but critical threat, or not an important threat at all. »

The results, as tabulated by Gallup:

— Cyberterrorism, the use of computers to cause disruption or fear in society (82% critical, 16% important, 2% not important)

— Development of nuclear weapons by North Korea (78% critical, 19% important, 2% not important)

— Development of nuclear weapons by Iran (76% critical, 19% important, 4% not important)

— International terrorism (71% critical, 25% important, 3% not important)

— Domestic terrorism (68% critical, 26% important, 6% not important)

— The military power of China          (67% critical, 29% important, 4% not important)

— The spread of infectious diseases throughout the world (64% critical, 31% important, 5% not important)

— The military power of Russia (59% critical, 35% important, 6% not important)

— The economic power of China (57% critical, 34% important, 8% not important)

— Global warming or climate change (55% critical, 25% important, 20% not important)

— The conflict between Russia and Ukraine (52% critical, 37% important, 11% not important)

— Large numbers of immigrants entering the U.S. illegally (48% critical, 30% important, 22% not important)

— The conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians (35% critical, 50% important, 13% not important)

Note that « the military power of Russia » and « conflict between Russia and Ukraine » ranked relatively low on the list of critical or important concerns at the time the poll was taken. But Gallup noted that more Americans than in past years saw Russia’s military power and the Russia-Ukraine situation as a threat to the U.S.

(World War III and nuclear war were not among the items broached by Gallup in this poll.)

Dems vs. Republicans

Gallup found that Republicans’ and Democrats’ perceptions of critical threats differed by double-digit margins on about half of the issues measured in the survey.

The largest of these was for global warming, which 83 percent of Democrats versus 19 percent of Republicans regarded as a critical threat to U.S. vital interests. The next-largest party gap was on illegal immigration, something 82 percent of Republicans and 25 percent of Democrats view as a major threat.

Democrats were also significantly more likely than Republicans to see the spread of infectious diseases as a critical threat. Republicans were more likely than Democrats to believe the economic power of China, Iranian nuclear weapons, the military power of China and international terrorism are threats.

The poll, conducted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, has a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

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