Thinking of Terrorism

May 06, 2011, 2:00 AM GMT+0

Only 2% of Americans say the shooting of bin Laden ends the war on terrorism, according to a finding in the Economist/YouGov Poll conducted from May 2-4, 2011. Many Americans are worried about the potential for terrorist retaliation after the killing of Osama bin Laden. More than half expect the shooting to increase, not decrease, the terrorist threat.

However, Americans think that retaliation, if it comes, won’t be immediate. Just 9% say it will take place in the next few days. More than 70% say there will be an attempt at retaliation, but it won’t happen soon.

Americans continue to worry about the possibility of terrorist attacks. Two out of three say the possibility of an attack here in the United States in the next 12 months is at least somewhat likely – 22% say it’s very likely.

But there is a feeling among many that the country is in better shape when it comes to terrorism than it was ten years ago. Half say the country is safer now. A year ago, just 35% felt that way.

And more say Obama Administration policies have made the country safer than think they have made it less safe – a turnaround from a year ago.

Confidence in the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to deal with the terrorist threat has also gone up. Two-thirds have at least some confidence in the department; a year ago, less than half did.

Republicans continue to fare somewhat better than Democrats on this issue. The Republican Party still maintains a lead over the Democrats as the party seen as better at dealing with the terrorist threat. 32% choose the Republicans; 25% the Democrats. 41% of Americans say Bush Administration policies made the country safer; 27% say they did not.


Approval of the President’s handling of Afghanistan is up, rising 12 points in this poll compared to the Economist/YouGov Poll conducted last weekend. But there are still many doubts about what will happen there.

Americans are more likely to say the country is losing the war in Afghanistan than say it is winning there. As for the future, there has been no change in their expectations. 71% say the U.S. will eventually leave Afghanistan without a victory.

Full datasets for Economist/YouGov polls can be found here.

Photo source: Press Association

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