The botched Christmas Day attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit by the Nigerian nincompoop has refocused attention on the dangers of terrorism.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 79% of U.S. voters now think it is likely there will be another terrorist attack in the United States in the next year. That’s a 30-point jump from the end of August when just 49% of Americans felt that way. The current level of concern is even higher than it was in the summer of 2007 when 70% considered an attack likely. In December 2008, 58% said an attack was likely.
The new number includes 42% who say another terrorist attack in America is very likely within the next year.
Just 12% of voters now say another terrorist attack on the United States in the next year is not very or not at all likely.
The current survey was conducted among likely voters and the August survey was conducted among all adults. While there is often a modest difference in results for these two segments of the population, the difference is typically in the 3-5 percentage point range. So while the current numbers are not precisely comparable to the August results, the 30 percentage point jump in concern reflects a significant change.
Men feel more strongly than women that another terrorist attack is likely in the next year. Older voters are more concerned than those who are younger.
Republicans are more worried about another terrorist attack in the near future than are Democrats and voters not affiliated with either party. The Political Class is much less fearful than Mainstream voters.
A lot of voters, however, are definitely following news reports about the terrorist attempt to blow up an airliner at it was landing in Detroit. Eighty-three percent (83%) say they are following those news reports at least somewhat closely, including 44% who are following very closely. Just 15% are not following news about the terrorist incident very closely or at all.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has been criticized for her response since the Christmas Day terrorist attempt. Forty-five percent (45%) of voters had an unfavorable opinion of Napolitano in April, while 30% viewed her favorably.
Forty-nine percent (49%) of Americans in September believed that most of their fellow countrymen have already forgotten the impact of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in which 3,000 died. Thirty-nine percent (39%) disagreed.
Since then, in addition to the airline incident on Christmas Day, a Muslim U.S. Army officer massacred 13 at Fort Hood, Texas and wounded many others. Sixty percent (60%) of voters nationwide said the November 5 shooting should beinvestigated by military authorities as a terrorist act rather than by civilian authorities as a criminal act.
Forty-eight percent (48%) of Americans nationwide believe that it is the responsibility of American Muslims to speak out against terrorist attacks on the United States.
In early December, 44% of voters said the United States is safer today than it was before the 9/11 attacks, a number that had remained relatively stable since the end of the summer. Another 38% said America is not safer today, and 18% more were undecided.
Fifty-one percent (51%) of voters oppose the Obama administration’s decision to try the confessed chief planner of the 9/11 attacks and other suspected terrorists in a civilian court in New York City as part of its effort to shut down the Guantanamo terrorist prison camp in Cuba. But most voters at the time were at least somewhat confident that New York City will be safe and secure while the trials are going on.
Fifty-one percent (51%) of Illinois voters oppose relocating some suspected terrorists from Guantanamo to a prison 150 miles west of Chicago.
Forty-five percent (45%) of Americans believe a cyberattack by terrorist hackers poses a greater economic threat to the United States than another 9/11 attack on New York City and Washington, D.C.
The U.S. economy was severely disrupted by the 2001 attacks, but consumer confidence is currently lower than it was in the aftermath of those attacks.