Gallup Poll: Only 22% Sure Govt Can Repel Terror

Friday, 02 Sep 2011 10:12 AM

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The fear of a new terrorist attack on U.S. soil is at nearly the lowest point seen since 9/11. However, just 22 percent of Americans have a “great deal of confidence” in the government’s ability to protect them from future terrorist attacks, a new a USA Today/Gallup poll shows.

Fears of a terrorist attack in the United States spiked after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May, when 62 percent felt an attack was very or somewhat likely. The number has retreated to 38 percent near the low recorded since 9/11 of 35 percent found in 2005 and similar to the 39 percent found in November 2009.

The poll was conducted Aug. 11 through 14, just a month before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. The poll also found that 36 percent of Americans “feeling very or somewhat worried that they or a family member could become a victim of terrorism.” In April 2000, the number was at about 25 percent and hit a high of 59 percent after 9/11 and ranged between 28 and 48 percent since.

The poll found that women, adults 35 and older, and Republicans are more likely to worry about being victims of an attack. The percentage of Americans saying they have "a great deal of confidence" in the ability to protect Americans from attack was highest immediately after 9/11, when the number was at 41 percent. The numbers have dropped to as low as 16 percent, comparable to the 22 percent registered in the new poll. However, 53 percent say they have a “fair amount” of trust in the government’s ability to protect them.

“Despite the approaching 10th anniversary of 9/11, Americans' belief that a terrorist attack could soon occur is on the low end of the range Gallup has seen over the past decade and their concern about terrorism victimizing their family is about average,” Gallup concluded. “Americans' confidence in the U.S. government to protect them from future acts of terrorism has recovered slightly from the low point recorded in 2006, but is not as great as it was in the first few years after 9/11.”

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