Americans now see other Americans as the biggest threat to their way of life

Linley SandersData Journalist
January 20, 2021, 1:00 PM UTC

Gone are the days that Americans looked abroad for the biggest danger to the nation. A new CBS News/YouGov poll shows that most Americans (54%) now think that the biggest threat to their way of life comes from domestic enemies.

There is bipartisan agreement that the nation’s way of life is most threatened by individuals who are already in America, with 53% of Democrats, 56% of Republicans, and 57% of Independents each choosing that as the most significant risk. One in five Americans (20%) believe economic forces present a greater challenge, while slightly fewer (17%) chose natural disasters or viruses as a key concern.  

About one in 12 Americans (8%) think foreign countries are the most looming threat, with Republicans being more likely than Democrats (4%) to say this. 

The survey was conducted as America awaits the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden and marks the end of Donald Trump’s presidency. Almost two weeks after the attack on the US Capitol to oppose the certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory, about three-quarters of Americans (73%) believe it’s likely there will be more attempts of violence toward the Capitol during Biden’s inauguration. 

Beyond inauguration, half of Americans (51%) expect even more political violence in the years to come. A majority of Republicans (59%) and Independents (55%) expect more political violence in the next few years. Democrats are slightly less pessimistic: 47% believe there will be an increase in violence, although one-quarter (26%) think that there will be a decrease. 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this CBS News/YouGov poll 

Methodology: This CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 2,166 U.S. residents interviewed between January 13-16, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as the 2020 presidential vote and registration status. The margin of error is ±2.5 points. 

Image: Getty