The fearmongering has worked: Plurality of GOP voters now say Donald Trump best equipped to handle terrorism following Paris attacks

Nearly 40 percent of Republicans said the Paris attacks actually bolstered their confidence in The Donald

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published November 17, 2015 8:31PM (EST)

Donald Trump (AP/Greg Allen)
Donald Trump (AP/Greg Allen)

Surprise, surprise. According to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll,33 percent of Republicans voters say Donald Trump is the presidential candidate best equipped to deal with terrorism, the highest showing for any GOP candidate.

While Friday's terror attacks have caused Republican voters to rethink their support for Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and John Kasich, a full 36 percent indicated that their confidence in The Donald as commander-in-chief only rose after Paris.

“When you look at Paris," Trump said the day after the deadly attacks. "You know the toughest gun laws in the world, Paris — nobody had guns but the bad guys ... you can say what you want, but if they had guns, if our people had guns, if they were allowed to carry, it would’ve been a much, much different situation.”

On Monday, the New York real estate magnate said he would "strongly consider" shutting down mosques in the U.S. as president. Last night, he also revealed his grand plan to deal with the Syrian refugees. "In Syria, take a big swatch of land, which believe me, you get for the right price, okay? You take a big swatch and you don't destroy all of Europe," Trump suggested after he said he would ban any further relocation to the U.S.

“A friend of mine lives in Minnesota and he calls me up and he says, ‘Can you imagine, it’s 130 degrees in Syria and now they want to send some of them up to Minnesota where it’s 30 degrees,” he told supporters at a rally in Knoxville, Tennessee on Monday. “These people are going to be very very unhappy,” he argued. “It’s cold, and beautiful, but it’s cold.” According to World Vision, 12 million refugees have fled Syria since the war began in 2011.

It is apparently this tough talk and bravado that conservatives who criticized President Obama's more measured press conference at the G20 had hoped for immediately following Friday's terror attack. For a plurality of Republican voters, loud declarations of war and sweeping rhetoric assailing whole swaths of people by a presidential candidate is appealing and The Donald is delivering the goods.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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