Gallup polls Americans on terrorism post-9/11, Trump, and Clinton

    A flag is placed along the South Pool prior to a ceremony at the World Trade Center site in New York on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. With a moment of silence and somber reading of names, victims' relatives began marking the 14th anniversary of Sept. 11 in a subdued gathering Friday at ground zero. (AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)

    A flag is placed along the South Pool prior to a ceremony at the World Trade Center site in New York on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. With a moment of silence and somber reading of names, victims' relatives began marking the 14th anniversary of Sept. 11 in a subdued gathering Friday at ground zero. (AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)

    NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller sits down for his weekly conversation with Gallup’s Frank Newport to talk about trends in U.S. opinion. Listen to their conversation below.

    Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Although there are many ways of looking at the impact of this event on Americans, both short and long-term, one element is the degree to which terrorism is considered to be a problem or a concern to Americans.

    Americans’ views of both Trump and Clinton became more positive during their conventions in July, but both have lost those gains. Overall, August ended up being worse for Clinton than for Trump.  She has slid to within a point of her lowest favorable rating since Gallup began tracking her in July 2015. Trump’s image is more stable, but is higher now than his all-time low point.  The unfavorable ratings of the two candidates are now within 4 points of each other – Clinton slightly less disliked than Trump, but both are not popular, to say the least.

    A new, major study coordinated by Gallup, Georgetown, and the University of Michigan shows that Trump has managed to get more attention than Clinton in the minds of average Americans for the most part over the past two months. People also report that what they’re hearing, reading or seeing about Clinton is dominated by one simple word: “email.”  Reports about Trump are much more fluid.

    As for the way things are going in the U.S., 27 percent of Americans are satisfied. Certainly this sounds bad, but may not be that much of a predictor of the election. In 2000 at this time, satisfaction was 63 percent and the Democrats lost the presidency, but in 1992 satisfaction was 22 percent and the party in control also lost control. In 2012, satisfaction was only 25 percent but the Democrats kept control. 

    There is more to it than “better than four years ago.” 

    Gallup is not doing horse race polls this year on a routine basis, but for those trying to make sense of the daily stream of such surveys, understand that while it’s hard to argue against looking at averages or aggregates of polls rather than individual polls, one must be cautious. Looking just at the “gap,” as most reports do, magnifies the apparent volatility.

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