May 28th, 2010
05:30 AM ET
9 years ago

CNN Poll: Fear of terrorist attack in U.S. rises

Washington (CNN) - For the first time in nearly four years, a majority of Americans think that a terrorist attack is likely to occur somewhere in the United States in the next few weeks, according to a new national poll.

But a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday morning indicates only one in 20 Americans think that terrorism is the most important problem facing the country today.

Fifty-five percent of people questioned say an act of terrorism in the U.S. over the next few weeks is likely, up 21 points from last August. Forty-three percent said such an attack is not likely, down 21 points from August.

Full results (pdf)

"Eight in ten Americans don't think that a terrorist attack is likely in their community, but the 17 percent who do worry about being targeted by terrorists is the highest that number has been since 2002," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Nonetheless, terrorism ranks dead last when Americans are asked to name the country's most important problem."

The economy, at 45 percent, tops the list, with the deficit, at 12 percent, and health care, at 11 percent, the only other issues in double digits. Only four percent of those questioned in the poll say terrorism is the country's top issue.

The survey's release comes one day after the Obama administration released its first National Security Strategy, a 52-page outline of the president's strategic approach and priorities on battling terrorism.

The NSS, required by Congress of every administration to be prepared every four years, for the first time combines homeland security and national security, focusing not only on threats internationally but on the threat of home-grown radicals inspired and recruited by al Qaeda.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted May 21-23, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: CNN poll • Economy • Popular Posts • Terrorism
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Angus McDugan

    Off course Americans are more concerned about an attack on American soil. We have had 3 since Obama took office.

    1. Ft. Hood – attack occurred.
    2. Underwear bomber – attack occurred but failed to detonate.
    3. Time's Square – attack occurred but failed to detonate.

    Obama does not realize that being reactionary to attacks, talking tough, and putting committees in place after the attacks occur does not protect people. You must govern, lead, and be proactive.

    Gesh Obama! Do I have to think of everything for you? Come on and put that big Harvard degree to work.

    May 28, 2010 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  2. Marie MD

    Leaving in one of the suburbs of DC this is bad news and scary for our area but we recovered from 9/11 to a certain extent.
    That being said all of you who think President Obama is a muslim . . . . I gues you have been wrong because we are still under the threat of radical muslim attacks.
    A shout out to the agencies that are working 24/7 trying to stop these threats before anything happens.

    May 28, 2010 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  3. David Raaflaub

    Right now the biggest threat of terrorism is the natural terrorism of the BP Oil Spill. The oil can be sucked into supertankers solving 85% of the problem. That was the result 20 years ago in the Arabian waterways. Yet BP and the U.S. government continues stupidity by not organizing a fleet of supertankers to pump the oil into the tankers to clean the spill.

    May 28, 2010 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  4. Jeff Spangler

    The attack has already occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, perpetrated by a band of avaricious foreigners who speak our language with a deceptively pleasing accent favored by gekkoes who advertise car insurance. Their quest for dramatic production of a certain elixir has sacrified quality as they commandeered the Deepwater Horizon and overrode engineers who knew better. They should hang from their own derricks.

    May 28, 2010 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  5. Gil

    The fear grows as the amount of time passes. There are enough Muslim nuts running around that sometime some place they will attack again! The former bush administration and the right will keep up the fear and threats!

    May 28, 2010 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  6. Brian L

    "There is nothing to fear, except fear itself"

    Oh wait the Republicans hate that quote.... they like "Fear everything and blame the Dems"

    May 28, 2010 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  7. ran

    My quess is 100% of the fear/hate/obstructionist/PURITY Republicans hope it happens so they can use it as a way to regain power.

    May 28, 2010 08:07 am at 8:07 am |