Fox's Kelly claims polls don't "look good for Obama" on terrorism, but her own evidence and Fox poll disagree

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

On the February 1, inaugural edition of Fox News' America Live, host Megyn Kelly claimed that "polls don't really look good for Obama on" terrorism, specifically citing a mid-January Pew Research poll. However, the Pew poll concluded that "terrorism stands out as a strong suit" for President Obama; further, Kelly ignored numerous other polls -- including one from Fox News -- finding that a majority of the public approves of the Obama administration's handling of terrorism issues.

Kelly: "the polls don't really look good for Obama on" terrorism

From the February 1 edition of Fox News' America Live:

KELLY: You know, Juan [Williams], the polls don't really look good for Obama on this point. You've got one from Pew Research Center earlier this month that says, or in mid-January, 33 percent believe that the ability of terrorists to launch a major terror attack on the U.S. is now greater than it was at the time of 9-11. Forty percent in another poll by the Economist say that the Obama administration has put too little emphasis on fighting terrorism. It is because of things like these moves, like the way Abdulmutallab was handled, like the way KSM [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] and his trial were handled, are those not hurting the president with American voters?

Pew poll: "terrorism stands out as a strong suit" for Obama

In claiming that "the polls don't really look good for Obama on" terrorism, Kelly cited a January 14 Pew Research Center poll that actually found "there is little evidence that heightened security concerns are affecting Barack Obama's standing and image ... terrorism stands out as a strong suit." Indeed, the poll found that Obama "continues to get markedly higher ratings for his handling of the threat of terrorism (51% approve) than for any other issue." From the Pew poll:

In addition, 33% now say that the ability of terrorists to launch a major attack on the U.S. is greater than it was at the time of 9/11; that is up only slightly from November but is the highest percentage expressing this view in surveys dating to 2002. The public also has become far more concerned that government anti-terrorism policies fail to protect the country adequately - and far less concerned that these policies restrict civil liberties.

Yet there is little evidence that heightened security concerns are affecting Barack Obama's standing and image. At 49%, Obama's job approval rating is unchanged from December. He continues to get markedly higher ratings for his handling of the threat of terrorism (51% approve) than for any other issue. And just 22% say his administration's policies have made the country less safe from terrorism when compared with the policies of the Bush administration; that is virtually unchanged from June (21%).

[...]

For Obama, however, terrorism stands out as a strong suit, particularly when compared with his lackluster ratings for several key domestic issues.

Kelly ignored polls -- including from Fox -- finding majority approval for Obama on terrorism issues

  • A Fox News poll conducted January 12-13 found 51 approval compared to 33 percent disapproval of "how the Obama administration handled the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day [by Abdulmutallab]." The poll also asked if "you think the Obama administration is as serious about fighting terrorism as the Bush administration was, or not." Fifty-four percent responded "yes," 37 percent responded "no," and 5 percent responded "more serious."
  • An AP-GfK poll conducted January 12-17 found 54 approval of the way Obama is handling terrorism, compared to 39 percent disapproval. The poll also found that 64 percent of respondents said they were very confident or somewhat confident "that President Barack Obama will be able to handle this issue effectively."
  • A CNN poll conducted January 8-10 found that 65 percent of those polled had a great deal or moderate amount of confidence in the Obama administration to protect America from terrorism; it also found that 57 percent approved of his response to the Christmas Day terror attempt.
  • An ABC News / Washington Post poll conducted January 12-15 found that "Fifty-five percent approve of Obama's handling of the threat of terrorism; more, a notable 62 percent, approve of the way he's handled the government's response to the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines jet."
  • A CBS poll conducted January 6-10 found that "52% approve of how [Obama] is handling the threat of terrorism"; "57% of Americans approve of the way the Obama administration has responded to the attempted [Christmas Day] terrorist attack, and 29% disapprove."; and 71 percent had a "great deal" or a "fair amount" of confidence in the government's ability to protect them from a terrorist attack.
Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, Terrorism
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Megyn Kelly
Show/Publication
America Live
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