9/11: Views on Terrorism at the Seventh Anniversary
Seven years after 9/11, more than six in 10 Americans feel the U.S. campaign against terrorism is going well and deep concerns about future attacks have declined, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Now, 62 percent said the nation is now safer than it was before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Positive assessments of the fight against terrorism are at their highest level since late 2003, and 10 percentage points higher than at this time two years ago, just before the midterm elections.
Democrats' and independents' views have become more upbeat in that time, with about half of Democrats now saying the war on terrorism is going well, compared with fewer than four in 10 at this time in 2007 and about a third in 2006. More than six in 10 independents said the same in the new poll, a 10-point jump over last year.
At the same time, concern about future terrorist attacks in the United States remains widespread -- 64 percent are worried about them -- although that too has abated somewhat over the past two years. The proportion expressing "a great deal" of concern dropped to 18 percent, the lowest level in Post-ABC polls back to 1995. About one in eight said they are not at all concerned about future attacks.
Much of the decline in concern comes among Democrats, 30 percent of whom said they had a great deal of concern a year ago, that figure now stands at 19 percent. Strong concern also dipped among independents, from 23 percent to 18 percent. Among Republicans, however, overall worry about future attacks has grown, from 57 percent last year to 71 percent now, and concern among McCain supporters (73 percent) is much higher than among Obama's backers (57 percent).
McCain has a 20-point advantage on handling terrorism, his best showing among the eight issues asked about in the new poll, but over time, terrorism and national security has faded as a top issue in political campaigns. In the latest Post-ABC poll, just 6 percent called it their top concern.
Overall, views on the nation's safety from terrorism have held steady since last year, but at 62 percent, are now at the highest level since Janury 2006. Opinions on safety from terrorism are a sharp divider on the upcoming presidential vote: nearly three-quarters of those who said the U.S. is less safe support Obama, 61 percent of those who feel safer back McCain.
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