Responding to terror: words matter

William JordanUS Elections Editor
April 18, 2013, 9:51 AM GMT+0

One in two Americans say it was important for the President to describe the Boston Marathon Bombings as "terrorism" or "act of terror"

In the wake of the tragedy in Boston on Monday, many Americans waited to see how the White House would respond to the bombings. Following the Benghazi attacks in September, where some argued that the adminstration did not act soon enough in responding to the attacks as terrorism, some media attention was focused on how President Obama how would describe the bombing.

In his initial remarks on Monday, while information was scarce, President Obama did not describe the bombing as an act of terror, but on Tuesday he confirmed that the FBI is investigating the twin bombings at the Boston Marathon as an "act of terrorism".

New research from YouGov today reveals that, contrary to being simply a detail or media talking point, fully 50% of Americans think the precise language the president uses at such times is important. 40% disagree.

The importance attached to this issue varied firmly along partisan lines: whereas 39% of Republican voters say it is "very important", an almost equal amount of Democrats (40%) say it is "not important at all."