Terrorism fears down since Boston
by Ben Henderson in Front Page and Politics
Tue August 6, 2013 6:28 a.m. PDT
The number of Americans who perceive a terrorist threat as likely has dropped since April, but is slightly higher than it was in 2009
Last Friday, the State Department temporarily closed its embassies and diplomatic posts throughout the Middle East, citing the threat of an Al Qaeda attack. Nineteen embassies remained closed this week, though according to a State Department spokesperson, this is not due to additional threats but "an abundance of caution".
New research from YouGov shows that the public perception of the likelihood of a terrorist attack has decreased since after the Boston bombings, but remains higher than it was when we asked in 2009.
Overall, 53% of Americans say that the threat of a terrorist attack in the next year is "very likely" or "somewhat likely". In April, 62% perceived the threat as "very likely" and "somewhat likely".
In 2009, the number of those who perceived the threat of a terrorist attack as very or somewhat likely was 51%, slightly lower than it is now. At the same time, the number who said the threat of a terrorist attack was "not very likely" or "very unlikely" was 42%, higher than the 34% who say the same thing now.
Perception of the likelihood of a terroist attack remains firmly partisan, with 78% of Republicans currrently perceiving the threat of a terrorist attack as somewhat or very likely and only 42% of Democrats saying the same thing.
While a majority of Americans say a terrorist attack against the United States is likely, most do not perceive the threat in their daily lives. 59% of Americans say they feel "generally safe" from terrorist attacks, while 34% feel "somewhat uneasy" and 7% say they feel "in danger". The number who say they feel safe has increased since April, when 51% said they do.
As for whether America is more or less safe than in 2001, 42% say that we are more safe, 26% say that we are about as safe and 23% say that we are less safe.