No confidence: Disapproval of Obama's handling of terrorism reaches 54%, highest of his presidency

Only once before, in late fall 2014, did he even graze 50 percent disapproval. (That was probably a reaction to ISIS beheading Americans James Foley and Steven Sotloff.) Now? Clear majority.

Having no strategy on Syria or ISIS and sounding like you’re on your “man period” at press conferences when pressed on that fact can do that to you.


I wonder if that’s a pure reaction to Paris, driving home the fact that more than a year of bombing ISIS hasn’t stopped them from launching major attacks in the west, or if it’s also a backlash to Obama wagging his finger at Americans who are nervous about admitting Syrian refugees. I’d guess it’s some of both. Americans are ready to crack down on the jihadis: 73 percent want the U.S. to participate in a military response to the Paris attack and 60 percent support increased use of American ground troops, although obviously an “increase” can mean a lot of things. There are 50 Special Forces troops in the field in Syria now; would people be okay with 50 more? How about 5,000 more?

Meanwhile, on Syrian refugees, ABC/WaPo finds almost the same number in opposition that Bloomberg found. Bloomberg saw 53 percent against accepting more refugees; ABC/WaPo has it at 54 percent, with 52 percent now less confident in America’s ability to screen refugees than they were before Paris. YouGov also conducted a poll this week on whether we should take more refugees from Syria. Guess what:


Another majority opposed. Democrats, although in favor on balance, can’t muster a majority to support Obama’s position. In fact, when you ask people specifically whether Syrian refugees should be welcomed into their home state, opposition rises slightly to 54 percent — the NIMBY effect in action, and precisely the same number that ABC/WaPo got. Nor is that any sort of historical outlier. Pew has taken polls during several major refugee crises over the past 60 years and usually (although not always) found that a majority of Americans are opposed to accepting people from abroad. Opposition to taking Syrian refugees right now is actually less strong than it was to taking Hungarian refugees in 1958, Indochinese in 1979, or Cubans in 1980. Maybe that’s a small concession to how brutal Syria’s war is or maybe it’s a function of the fact that 10,000 refugees is a comparatively small number. Either way, a majority opposed accepting refugees in all four cases. The next time Obama tells you that it’s un-American to not want to take refugees, ask him which America he has in mind.

One more poll for you, just because we’re on a subject that touches heavily on cultural assimilation. Today WaPo dusted off this graph from Pew from earlier this year to remind readers that most Muslims are not, in fact, terrorists or pro-terrorist:


Glass mostly full or glass a tiny bit empty? On the one hand, Muslims overwhelmingly view ISIS unfavorably. On the other hand, as Graeme Wood (who wrote an excellent analysis of ISIS for The Atlantic earlier this year) put it: “Alternate headline: tens of millions openly support the Islamic State.” Apply the same percentages here to the nearly one million migrants who have flooded into Germany this year. How many new ISIS fans is Deutschland housing these days?