Threats from Islamic extremists have put national security at the forefront of the 2016 election — and that could be potentially devastating for House Democrats, a senior lawmaker has warned colleagues.

Rep. Steve Israel, the New York lawmaker charged with campaign messaging for House Democrats, told colleagues during a closed-door briefing last week that Democrats poll significantly behind Republicans on national security — by as much as 23 percentage points.

That poll analyzing the gap between Democrats and Republicans is from Gallup in 2014 — during the height of the Ebola scare — but Israel said during an interview here that he believes it would be equally bad for his party now, in the wake of the Paris and Southern California terrorist attacks.

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Photo: AP. California Rep. Adam Schiff says Democrats need to find a better way to project a message of strength.