November 19th, 2009
07:00 AM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Could authorities have prevented Ft. Hood shootings?

 A fallen soldiers memorial is seen in front of the podium where President Obama spoke at the memorial service for victims of the Fort Hood shootings.
A fallen soldiers memorial is seen in front of the podium where President Obama spoke at the memorial service for victims of the Fort Hood shootings.

Washington (CNN) – A majority of Americans think that authorities could have prevented the deadly attack at Fort Hood, Texas, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates that 64 percent of the public believes that federal law enforcement agencies or the U.S. military should have been able to prevent the shootings, with 31 percent saying the incident couldn't have been prevented.

Authorities say Nidal Hasan, a U.S. Army psychiatrist, opened fire at a military processing center at the Fort Hood army post, killing 13 people. Dozens of others were wounded.

"All major demographic groups seem to believe that the attack at Fort Hood was preventable," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "A majority of men and women, old and young, Democrats and Republicans - all think Hasan could have been stopped."


The poll's Thursday morning release comes as the Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman is scheduled to begin hearings focusing on what authorities knew about the alleged shooter before the November 5 incident, and whether military or law enforcement authorities missed signals that Hasan was planning an attack.

According to the survey, Americans are split on whether the attack was an act of terrorism. Forty-seven percent of people questioned say it was an act of terrorism, with 45 percent disagreeing.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted November 13-15, with 1,014 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Full results (pdf)

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: CNN poll • Fort Hood
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Jerry

    Of course they could have prevented the terrorist attack but the ACLU and libs would be up in arms.

    November 19, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  2. mams

    I,M urging everybody to boycott this cnn ticker till they stop reporting on nitwit Palin.its just toomuch.we need to uphold journalism and do away with this obsession

    November 19, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. JA/TN

    yes, but humans are subject to error

    November 19, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  4. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Yes, if the Army had taken heed of the reports of his fellow classmates, professors, especially during his internship at Walter Reed.

    November 19, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. Travis In Colorado

    Yes this could have been prevented, and we can prevent it from happening again. Don't allow muslims to be in the military. We all KNOW that they don't support America, but only want to destroy it. God Save America!

    November 19, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. Sniffit

    WRONG QUESTION. The question we should be focused on is "how do we prevent this kind of thing in the future." Focus on the solution, not the problem. Sure, we have to figure out where the holes were in procedure and what gaps there were in sharing intelligence, etc., but looking for someone or something to blame is not constructive.

    Of course, that's not the "news" media's job anymore, is it? At least as far as the "news" media is concerned. The "news" media's job, defined by CEOs and upper tier executives, is to drum up whatever controversy it can and spin things into oblivion to scare, upset and rile the masses, so we are constantly glued to their TVs and the intertubez exposing ouselves to the advertising like good little capitalist sheeple.

    November 19, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Preliminary findings say that there were warning signs to this man being sick and not fit for service. How or why these signs were missed, ignored, or misinterpreted we can only guess. 'Crazy' by definition is hard to catch. Pinpointing the 'snapping' point is equally difficult. Thus far everything points to his NOT having acted in concert with a domestic terrorist cell as many people feared. We can only wait and see what other facts the ongoing investigation is able to produce.
    One thing is for certain, prudence in NOT jumping to erroneous and paranoid induced conclusions should be excercised.

    November 19, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  8. SocialismBad

    What shocking is that 45% of the people polled didn't think this was a terrorist attack. How dumb can people be? Do they think the only terrorist attacks are with airplanes crashing into buildings. These 45% need to smarten up and WAKE UP. I guess the brainwashing of this administration and the MSM have taken a toll on America's ability to recognize terrorism when they see it.

    November 19, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  9. Bren

    The majority in the country believe that this was a terrorist attack--not a psychotic act by Hasan--even after the extensive white wash attempts by Obama and the main stream media.

    This was another terrorist attack on US soil-–and there were MANY signals that should have been investigated--that could have prevented this tragedy!!

    And, I am soooo glad that the members of Congress are continuing with their investigation into this matter-–just so that ALL information can be discovered and released.

    November 19, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  10. Beverly - NYC

    The shooting could have been prevented had the Army kicked Hasan out of the military the moment they became aware of his anti-american feelings. When you join you swear an oath to protect the US against all enemies foreign and domestic, those enemies having the same religion does not matter. The officials in charge of Hasan who promoted him and passed the problem along from base to base are responsible for this loss of life and should be demoted. Tell me why Gays can't serve in the military but someone wearing a US military uniform spouting anti-americam rhetoric can. This is exactly the type of thing Janet Neopolitano warned about in the summer and was torn apart by those those or so patriotic Republicans for it. I am sure the military has other Hassan's in their ranks.

    November 19, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  11. Ryan

    Well Republicans are foaming at the mouth to call this a terrorist attack on Obama's watch.... the only problem is, it was a murder. AND if it HAD been a terrorist attack...well this guy was reported as having issues in 2007.... and let's see... who was our President then?

    It's not like President Obama blatantly ignored a memo "Watch out for a crazy guy in Fort Hood." That's more Bush's style.

    November 19, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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