NRCC Chairman Greg Walden, R-Oregon, told reporters Friday at a roundtable hosted by The Christian Science Monitor that it was too soon to tell if national security could overtake the economy as the top voter concern in 2014. “I don’t know that I can answer that at this point,” he said, adding a rise in polling on the issue makes it impossible to ignore on the campaign trail.
“I know that it is a very potent and important issue in the minds of the electorate. So it is popping as an issue,” he said.
A recent CNN poll underscored how tuned in Americans are to the threat posed by ISIL. Seven in 10 Americans said they believe the Islamic State has the resources to attack the U.S. and 45% of Americans view ISIL as a “very serious threat” to the U.S.
The poll also showed 14% rank terrorism as the most important problem facing the country — up from 3% in September 2010 — ranked only behind the economy as the most pressing issue facing the country right now.
Driving Americans’ awareness is the recent, gruesome murders of two journalists by ISIL fighters. The most recent NBC/WSJ poll showed 94% of Americans were aware of their deaths — higher than any other news event the survey has measured in the past five years.