Republican voters believe President Barack Obama represents a greater threat to America than either Russian leader Vladimir Putin or Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, according to a new survey.
Reuters/Ipsos this month asked 2,809 Americans to rate out of five how great a threat certain countries, groups and people pose to the United States — with one meaning 'no threat' and five meaning 'imminent threat'.
More than a third of Republican respondents (34 per cent) rated Obama as an 'imminent threat', more than Putin or Assad, who registered 24 and 23 per cent respectively.
Both the Russian and Syrian Presidents have recently been criticised by the international community, and by the US government in particular, the former for backing pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine, the latter for allegedly using chemical weapons on his own citizens in 2013.
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The results of the poll reflects ever-worsening political polarisation in the US, but sociologist Barry Glassner isn't surpised.
Glassner, who wrote 'The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are afraid of the wrong things', said: "There tends to be a lot of demonising of the person who is in office."
He thinks the "fear mongering" by both the Republican and Democratic parties will feature prominently in the 2016 presidential campaign.
"The TV Media here, and American politics, very much trade on fears."
Fox News 'finest moments'
Fox News 'finest moments'
1/13 Penis pictures are news
Pulling photos straight from Twitter moments before going on-air was a nightmare waiting to happen for any network, as Fox-affiliated KDVR found in spectacular fashion when a penis was spliced into coverage of the Seattle helicopter crash
2/13 Homosexual impulses lead to serial killings
A licensed psychotherapist booked to appear on Fox’s Justice With Judge Jeanie programme suggested Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodger could have been acting upon “homosexual impulses” when he targeted his victims
3/13 Single ladies rely on government like a husband
Fox News host Jesse Watters coined the phrase ‘Beyonce Voters’, who ‘depend on government because they’re not depending on their husbands’. Watters was critical of this section of the electorate for ‘needing contraception, health care, and they love to talk about equal pay’
4/13 It’s OK to use racial slurs about China
Fox News presenter Bob Beckel claimed “Chinamen” had been taught “how to do computers” by Americans in a rant about China’s “threat” to the national security of the US
5/13 Michelle Obama needs to drop a few pounds
Fox’s psychiatry contributor, Dr Keith Ablow, claimed that Michelle Obama isn’t in a position to campaign for healthier eating because “she needs to drop a few” herself
6/13 Russell Brand is left-wing commie scum
Fox presenter Greg Gutfeld called Brand “left-wing commie scum” after he condemned the news station for hiring a token black person to come on to lament the riots
7/13 Women in the armed forces are ‘boobs on the ground’
Presenter Kimberly Guilfoyle asked if the UAE’s first female fighter pilot’s role during Isis air strikes could be considered “boobs on the ground” in Syria
8/13 Sexism awareness videos should themselves be treated with sexism
Bob Beckel again. The Fox host addressed the viral video actress Shoshana B Roberts created highlighting catcalling in New York by saying: “She got 100 catcalls, let me add 101. Damn, baby, you’re a piece of woman”
9/13 Young women shouldn’t worry themselves with politics
Fox’s Guilfoyle said young women shouldn’t be able to vote or sit on juries because they don’t have the same concerns as their elders. “I just think, excuse them so they can go back on Tinder and Match.com,” he said
10/13 Ignore CIA torture because ‘the US is awesome’
Fox’s “National Security Analyst” KT McFarland condemned the release of a damning report into the CIA's use of torture as a political manoeuvre designed to show Americans "how we’re not awesome"
11/13 The Sydney terror siege justifies CIA use of torture
Elizabeth Hasselbeck used the hostage situation in Sydney to defend the CIA after it was widely condemned for enhanced interrogation techniques revealed in the so-called 'torture report'
12/13 Videos should be edited to say what you want
Fox apologised after editing a video of protesters to make it sound as if they were chanting "kill a cop" during a demonstration over a grand jury decision not to charge the police officer who put Eric Garner in an illegal chokehold
13/13 The AirAsia plane crashed because of the metric system
Presenter Anna Kooiman linked the use of different measurement systems to the safety of flights abroad
The country's partisanship goes beyond the right's longstanding hatred of Obama, with Reuters reporting that 27 per cent of Republican respondents also see the Democratic Party as an imminent threat to the US, whilst 22 per cent of Democrats say the same about the Republican Party.
And it extends to the issues as well, with Democrats markedly more concerned about climate change, with 33 per cent labelling it an imminent threat. More than a quarter of Republicans, on the other hand, said climate change was not a threat at all.
Other results from the survey revealed that Americans believe Isis poses the greatest terror threat (58 per cent), followed by al Qaeda (43 per cent).
Cyber attacks were given the 5 out of 5 threat rating by 39 per cent of those polled, whilst the threat of drug trafficking was seen as 'imminent' by a third.
Additional reporting by ReutersReuse content