Voters favor generic GOP candidate to handle national security

A growing percentage of U.S. voters say a presidential candidate's national security strategy will be a top factor in determining their vote next November, with a majority currently favoring a generic Republican candidate to best ensure Americans' safety.

In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris, France, 22 percent of registered voters in a new Morning Consult survey rank national security as the top issue influencing their vote in the current election cycle, marking a 5-point increase from last week. Security issues are second only to issues related to the economy, which 36 percent of voters list as their top election issue.

Among party lines, 30 percent of Republican voters, 20 percent of independents and 17 percent of Democrats cited national security as their top concern. Overall, 36 percent of voters said domestic or foreign terrorism currently poses the greatest threat to the U.S. while 22 percent said an economic collapse is what worries them the most.

For respondents who listed national security as their top concern, 53 percent said they would vote for the Republican presidential nominee in 2016 as opposed to just 27 percent who would vote for a generic Democratic candidate.

At 38 percent Donald Trump remains the front-runner in the GOP field, according to the Morning Consult poll. However, other national polls and surveys of early primary voters show the billionaire trailing retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson in support among Republican voters. Carson earns 19 percent support in the Morning Consult poll, putting him in second place, while Sens. Marco Rubio, Fla., and Ted Cruz, Texas, tie for third at 7 percent each.