After Boston, concern over another terror attack rises, poll shows

The inside story of the Boston Marathon bombing investigation: Scott Pelley interviews Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.

Poll analysis by Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Anthony Salvanto and Fred Backus

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, 66 percent of Americans now think another terrorist attack in the U.S. is at least somewhat likely in the next few months, according to a new CBS News/ New York Times poll, up from 37 percent last year.

Before the April 15 attack, nearly 12 years had passed without a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Americans are split over whether the bombings could have been prevented, according to the poll, conducted April 24-28. At the same time, they give the president and law enforcement high marks for their response to the attack.

As many as 68 percent of Americans approve of Mr. Obama's response to the bombings, and 56 percent approve of his handling of terrorism generally. However, his overall job approval is lower, at 47 percent -- similar to last month.

Many Republicans give the president credit for his handling of the Boston attacks (47 percent approve), but just 12 percent approve of the overall job Mr. Obama is doing as president.

 

 

Mr. Obama said Tuesday that law enforcement did an " 

exemplary job  responding to the bombings, and Americans seem to agree: 84 percent said they approve of the way federal and local law enforcement handled the attack.

On the other hand, some think more could have been done to prevent it: 41 percent of Americans think U.S. intelligence agencies had information that could have prevented the bombings at the Boston Marathon, but 45 percent do not. Republicans and independents are more likely than Democrats to say U.S. intelligence could have prevented the attacks.

While investigations into the Boston bombings are ongoing, more Americans (53 percent) think the suspects in the attacks were connected to a larger terrorist group than think they acted alone (32 percent). Americans across the political spectrum are inclined to hold this view.

Most Americans are following news about the Boston bombings, including 45 percent who are following it very closely.

More attacks?

Americans continue to see terrorism as part of life in the U.S. Nine in 10 agree with the statement: "Americans will always have to live with the risk of terrorism."

At the same time, just a quarter are very concerned about an attack in their own area. That number was higher in the years following the 9/11 attacks. Northeasterners are more concerned than those living in other regions about an attack where they live.

And while 25 percent of Americans say they are less likely to attend large public events because of terrorism, most (72 percent) are not less likely to do that.

A majority of the public, 70 percent, has at least a fair amount of confidence in the federal government's ability to protect its citizens from terrorism. Confidence has dipped slightly since November 2010. Most Americans think the U.S. is prepared to deal with another terrorist attack, but they are less confident in their state and local governments.

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