Before last week’s terrorist attacks in Beirut and Paris, Texas voters had illegal immigration and foreign terrorist groups at the top of their list of greatest threats to the U.S., according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.


Given a list of possible threats to the country, 22 percent chose illegal immigration, followed by 18 percent who chose foreign terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda. Other issues trailed behind, including political polarization, decaying infrastructure, gun violence and unfriendly foreign nations.

“Even before the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday, Texans expressed deep concern over border security,” said Daron Shaw, co-director of the poll and a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin. “I may be going out on a limb here, but I doubt Texas voters agree with Bernie Sanders’ statement [in Saturday’s Democratic debate] that climate change represents a more urgent threat than jihadist terrorism.”

Self-identified Democrats were less likely to list immigration as a threat, but 18 percent of independent voters and 36 percent of Republicans listed it first. Foreign terrorist groups were among the top items chosen by all three groups: 14 percent of Democrats, 20 percent of independents and 21 percent of Republicans listed that as the top threat facing the country.

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