New CNN Poll: Pain remains 10 years after 9/11
September 9th, 2011
06:00 AM ET
7 years ago

New CNN Poll: Pain remains 10 years after 9/11

Washington (CNN) - The sadness and anger that Americans felt after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 have not gone away over the past decade, according to a new national survey.

A CNN/ORC International Poll released Friday morning also indicates that while two-thirds of the public says that the country will never completely return to normal, two out of three Americans also say that there is little reason for them to be afraid of terrorism.

There are also indications that 9/11 is fading from public memory. A year after the attacks, two-thirds of all Americans said they thought about the attacks at least once a week. Now that figure is down to 17 percent, with one third saying they hardly ever think about 9/11.

According to the poll, six in ten say that a terrorist attack on or around the 9/11 anniversary is unlikely, with nearly four in ten concerned about an incident in the coming days.

"Compare that to the 53 percent who thought that terrorists would attack on Christmas, 2001, or the 57 percent who worried about an attack on the following Fourth of July, and it seems likely that Osama bin Laden's death and the passage of time have convinced many Americans that the threat of terrorism is shrinking," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "A lot of Americans spent the first few years after 9/11 waiting for the other shoe to fall, but they don't seem to have that same sense of concern any longer."

The survey indicates that Americans still feel sad and angry about 9/11. Eight in ten say they feel sad when they think about the 9/11 attacks - virtually the same number who reported feelings of sadness as the first anniversary of 9/11 approached in 2002. More than six in ten say they feel angry when they think about 9/11 - again, relatively little change since the first anniversary of the attacks.

One number that has gone down is the number who say they want vengeance when they think about 9/11. It's dropped from 45 percent in 2002 to 34 percent now.

"That's probably because the U.S. was finally able to deal with Osama bin Laden," adds Holland. "But only five percent believe that the U.S. is completely back to normal a decade after 9/11, and 63 percent believe that the U.S. will never fully recover."

The poll also indicates that the unity Americans shared after 9/11 has dissipated. After the attacks, 74 percent said that Americans were united and in agreement about the most important values. That number is now down to 27 percent.

One other note: According to the survey, one in five Americans have visited the Ground Zero site in the past ten years.

The CNN/ORC International Poll was conducted August 24-25, with 1,017 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: 9/11 • CNN/ORC International poll • New York
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    I hope we never forget. Too bad we can't feel the patriotism and unity we did on that day. The year 2008 changed so much in our country.
    The stories being told now are just as raw as they were 10 years ago!

    September 9, 2011 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  2. Good grief!

    How much longer will the media keep reminding us of 9/11? Yes, it was tragic, but most of us don't wallow in self pity. We would like to get on with our lives.

    September 9, 2011 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  3. MrManhattan

    Of course a lot of people are forgetting about 9/11, the havoc wreaked on the country in the subsequent seven and a half years by the Cheney/Bush administration has had the same personal, visceral effect on the rest of the country that Bin Laden's attack had on New Yorkers.

    It's one thing to see pain and suffering on TV in a faraway place, it's another when it happens to you, your family and your hometown.

    September 9, 2011 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It was a tragedy that it happened. I guess it shows that not everyone likes our foreign policy and can't behave like a civilized human being by attacking civilians. Unfortunately, many things were done in haste and with far reaching consquences because of this attack. If Bin Laden and others of that elk had actually paid for air time on US media (tv & radio to start) and expressed their views so that we could actually talk about it, then we would not have to worry about people dying. The problem is that many of these radical only see one way - their way. It seems that it is based on the wrong thinking that it is the sword (violence) or conversion. For whatever reason that is their thinking and can't be changed. If only they would understand that G-d gave us a brain to understand and reason; not to be mindless thugs that only have people be one way. Where's the joy in that?

    September 9, 2011 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    President Obama has taken the war on terror seriously, and has eliminated Osama bin Laden and several of his leaders. While we will always have to be vigilant, it is comforting knowing that our government, under Obama, has kept us safe.

    September 9, 2011 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  6. once upon a horse

    I did not know one person that died on 911, yet when I visited Ground Zero and saw that site my eyes welled up in tears. I felt the same way when I visited Pear Harbor. I hope in my lifetime nothing like this ever happens again.

    September 9, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  7. Indy

    As long as there is American troops in Afganastan and Iraq there is always a reminder of how many lives have been affected by 911. As long as the financial punishment continues to hurt average Americans and there is gridlock in Government there is a reminder that the terrorists wanted political gridlock,insecurity,loss of freedom,financial freefall. The recent crisis in Congress probably had the terroists cheering in victory because this is what the terrorists wished for. The terrorist wanted the Bush government to start wars and spend money into oblivion, and they got their wish to divide Government and make it barely functionable so yes the reminders are still here everyday. If the politicians ever decided to work together against the terrorists wishes and help the President get people back to work the reminders would be less subtle as time marches on.

    September 9, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  8. Annie, Atlanta

    Heck, Pearl Harbor is still a part of the American psyche – mine included, and I wasn't even alive back then. This will never go away. It changed us in ways historians may be able to figure out 50 years from now, as well as some obvious ones right now. 9-11 is now part of who we are.

    September 9, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |