Poll: Mass Shootings, Attacks Weighed Heavily on Americans in 2015

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Mass shootings and attacks weighed heavily on the minds of Americans in 2015, according to a poll that found most believe this year was worse for the world than last year.

Poll: Mass Shootings, Attacks Weighed Heavily on Americans in 2015

A look at the key findings of The Associated Press-Times Square Alliance poll.

Preoccupied by mass shootings

Americans say the most important events of 2015 were a string of mass shootings, including the attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., and Paris, plus the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group atrocities, the Associated Press reports.

Fifty-seven percent of those polled say this year was worse than the last year for the world as a whole, up from the 38 percent asked that question a year ago. Only 10 percent believe 2015 was a better year than 2014, while 32 percent think there wasn't much difference.

Americans also are much less likely than they were a year ago to believe that the current year was better for the United States — only 17 percent compared with 30 percent a year ago. Thirty-seven percent think this year was worse for the country than last year, while 44 percent don't think there was much difference.

On a personal level, fewer than a third (29 percent) believe 2015 was better for them than 2014, while 21 percent feel it was worse, compared with 15 percent in 2014.

Interviewed separately from the poll, Jason Pruitt, a 43-year-old corporate pilot from the Detroit area, said security concerns were a factor in deciding whether to take his wife and daughter along on a Christmas trip to New York.

"We were thinking about not coming this year, because of everything that's going on," Pruitt said. But they went ahead "because when you change your life, the terrorists win."

Three events share the top spot

Of those polled, 68 percent listed mass shootings in the US as very or extremely important news events this year, including the one in San Bernardino that heightened fears of domestic terrorism, plus shootings in Charleston, S.C.; Roseburg, Ore.; and Chattanooga, Tenn.

Close behind, at 64 percent, were the Paris attacks that ushered in 2015, targeting Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish market, then the Bataclan concert hall and other city sites in November.

And third, at 63 percent, came the ISIL group's various far-flung atrocities.

Other issues

Domestically, 44 percent of those polled rate as extremely or very important the deaths of blacks in encounters with police that sparked "Black Lives Matter" protests in Baltimore and Chicago.

Another 44 percent rate the deal reached to curtail Iran's nuclear program as important, and nearly as many (42 percent) Europe's migrant crisis.

Only 40 percent said the presidential race was important to them, with the Paris Climate Change Conference right behind (at 38 percent), followed by the Supreme Court's legalization of gay marriage (36 percent) and the Cuban-US thaw (30 percent)

The AP-Times Square Alliance Poll of 1,020 adults was conducted online Dec. 11-13, using a sample drawn from GfK's probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the US population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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