September 11th, 2007
08:30 AM ET
11 years ago

Majority of Americans don't think U.S. is winning war on terror

CNN's Bill Schneider takes a look at the latest poll numbers on terrorism.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Six years after the September 11 attacks, only three in ten Americans believe that the U.S. and its allies are winning the war on terrorism, according to a new CNN-Opinion Research Corporation Poll. That’s down from 41% when the same question was asked at the beginning of last year.

Half of all Americans believe that neither side is winning the war on terrorism. And almost one in five Americans believes that the terrorists are winning. A solid majority of Americans (57%) believes that the terrorists will always find a way to launch major attacks regardless of what the U.S. government does. That number is unchanged from one year ago.

Only five percent of those questioned think things in the U.S. are now completely back to normal following the September 11 attacks. Thirty percent feel things will eventually be back to normal and 63 percent think things will never be back to normal.

The CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll questioned 1,017 Americans from September 7-9. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.

And a majority are not satisfied with the way the war on terrorism is going

Fewer than four in ten Americans are satisfied with the way that things are going in the war on terrorism, according to a CNN-Opinion Research Corporation Poll conducted last month. The survey showed that one in three Americans believe we are actually less safe from terrorism than we were prior to the September 11 attacks. Two out of every three Americans believe that we are either as safe as or safer than we were on the day of the attacks.

Over 40 percent of the American public is worried that a family member will become a victim of terrorism. A similar percentage believes that an act of terrorism will occur somewhere in the United States within the next several weeks.

Americans are evenly divided when asked if the federal government has used or will use its enhanced post-September 11 surveillance powers responsibly, without violating civil liberties.

The August 6-8 CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll questioned 1,029 Americans. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Filed under: CNN Polls
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. JWH

    "I am convinced there is still hope to see terrorism eliminated as a major influence."

    Just like the "War on Drugs" and the "War on Poverty", right?

    What a scam.

    September 11, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  2. E, New Orleans

    You know what? We shouldn't even bother with the "war on terror." Today is September Whatever. I'm not scared of bin Laden, I'm not scared of terrorists. Their threats don't scare me. I'm tired of the global war on terror and I'm furious that we spend so much money to make these guys famous.

    September 11, 2007 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  3. Vince Phoenix AZ

    I love it when CONservatives spout.."there's been no attack since 9-11, because of Bush's leadership". By that "logic", where is Bill Clinton's credit for no attacks on our soil from the first attack until he left office almost 8 years later??? (just adding my chink to the CONservative armor..)

    September 11, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Raymond ~ El Paso TX,

    You wrote, "Maybe you should go back and educate yourselves by reading up on why Russia lost in Afghanistan and wound up having to get out of there with their tails between their legs. It's the same reasons we're bogged down in Iraq and what will eventually happen to us."

    Ray – newsflash – US forces removed the Taliban controlled government of Afghanistan. September 2005 democratic elections were held and Hamid Karzai was the FIRST EVER elected head of state. We – the US – did what the Soviets could not.

    The reason we CAN still have success in Iraq is because we did not remove Saddam so that WE (U.S.) could occupy and control the people of Iraq. Rather we are there to provide the Iraqis people a chance to create their own future – free of brutal dictators.

    Sounds like you would rather our soldiers take their marching orders from Al Qaeda and Islamic Extremists (getting ALL infidels off their soil)?

    Soon enough, Ray, our soldiers will be home.. and history will record their valient effort and how Afghanistan and Iraq formed into civilized democracies.

    September 11, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. Raymond, El Paso TX

    Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Nowhere did I say Afghanistan was not a just war even though the job isn't finished no matter what you say. If you notice, my point was about being in Iraq.

    I was talking about the similarities between what happened to Russia when they occupied Afghanistan and what we're now going through in Iraq. In fact you would be surprised how many more similarities there are.

    One thing that really irritates me about you guys is that you equate anti-Iraq war Americans with the enemy. What annoys me even more is that when you can't prove your point, you start screaming, "...well you must be against the troops". In other words, "you're either with us or you're against us".

    EVERYONE supports our troops! You would have to be an idiot not to. They're the ones laying their life on the line! However, we also have the right, and the responsibility, to question our governement.

    Typical Republicans, you need to quit listening to Rush.

    September 11, 2007 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  6. Ron Nebraska

    By the way, for all you apologists out there who spew the talking point ' no attack in U.S. since 9/11' If Bush/Rove/Cheney had been competent in their job 9/11 should not have happened. The buck does stop there!

    September 11, 2007 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  7. vish

    Jon in Sacramento:

    "Soon enough, Ray, our soldiers will be home.. and history will record their valient effort and how Afghanistan and Iraq formed into civilized democracies."

    You mean when we create civilized democracies and install leaders we feel give the U.S. an economic boost. Won't the same thing that happened to the Bin Laden Royal Family and Saddam happen? 2 families we loved and gave money to in return for economic favors (oil) turn on us and then we invade to kill them because they don't have our best interests first?

    September 12, 2007 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  8. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    Quick note on conflicts and wars: it's been a long time since I gave someone a beating, but when I was through I pulled my fist back instead of leaving it stuck to the guy I was beating. I didn't follow him home and beat him again, either. I know I'm not a sovereign nation and neither was he, but I had an exit strategy and successfully resolved the conflict (and that's why I'll shortly be announcing my candidacy for President on the Jay Leno Show).

    September 12, 2007 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  9. Mia, Stafford, VA

    The terrorists don't care about any country, they are committed to their delusional view of ISLAM, so they don't give a flying melinda how many countries we attack.

    The terrorist love how we respond, we spend trillions of dollars invading countries, which in turn increase their recruits, they don't have to do anything but sit back and laugh; they come into the country we invade and set up house, because the war has caused chaos.

    History will not judge President Bush kindly. All the FACTS show that Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11.

    September 12, 2007 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca


    You wrote, "You mean when we create civilized democracies and install leaders we feel give the U.S. an economic boost."

    If you have been following the political debate in Washington, Vish, you know it's DEMOCRATS (Hillary, Carl Levin, etc) calling for the Democratically-elected leader, Al-Maliki, to be removed. Bush has publicly defended the Iraqi political process.

    And Vish, if you're JUST now waking up to the fact countries have (for thousands of years) operated in their national best interest... welcome to the real world!

    September 12, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
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