How Safe Are We 2 Years Later?

GENERIC 9/11 september 11 oklahoma city bombing terror terrorism CBS/AP

It is nearly two years since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, and while most Americans still believe another attack in the U.S. is likely in the near future, this feeling is the lowest it has been since before the war with Iraq.

But another worry is on the rise: most Americans are at least somewhat concerned that the anti-terrorism measures enacted by the Bush Administration will cost them some of their civil liberties.

Just 15% now think another attack in the U.S. is very likely in the coming months, down from 35% who thought so in February of 2003. While most still think an attack is at least somewhat likely, the number of Americans thinking this will happen hasn't been this low since January, 2003 before the buildup to the Iraq war.



IS ANOTHER ATTACK LIKELY IN COMING MONTHS?


Now
Very likely
15%
Somewhat likely
49%
Not very/ not at all likely
33%

5/03
Very likely
24%
Somewhat likely
47%
Not very/ not at all likely
27%

2/03
Very likely
35%
Somewhat likely
45%
Not very/ not at all likely
18%

1/03
Very likely
14%
Somewhat likely
48%
Not very/ not at all likely
35%

In New York City, site of the World Trade Center attacks, New Yorkers are a bit less likely than the rest of the nation to think the U.S. will be the target of another attack in the near future. In a separate New York Times poll conducted August 31st to September 4th, 2003, 56% of New Yorkers say an attack on the U.S. is very or somewhat likely in the coming months, compared to 64% of Americans nationwide.

Yet only 20% of Americans feel safer from terrorism than they did two years ago. 26% feel less safe, but most – 53% - say their anxiety level has not changed.

FEEL SAFER FROM TERRORISM NOW VS. TWO YEARS AGO?

Feel safer today
20%
Feel less safe today
26%
Feel the same
53%

And most Americans – 59% - are also concerned that the measures enacted by the Bush Administration to fight terrorism could cost them some of their civil liberties. 30% are very concerned about this. This level of concern is the highest it has been since CBS News first asked the question in January 2002.

CONCERNED BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S ANTI-TERROR MEASURES
WILL COST YOU CIVIL LIBERTIES?


Now
Very/somewhat concerned
59%
Not very/not at all concerned
39%

5/03
Very/somewhat concerned
52%
Not very/not at all concerned
46%

1/02
Very/somewhat concerned
46%
Not very/not at all concerned
53%

Since the September 11th attacks, the U.S. Government has issued warnings about possible new attacks, and most Americans find these warnings to be useful, an evaluation that has remained about the same for a year. Today, New Yorkers are less likely to find these warnings useful, though most – 55% - still do.

ARE U.S. GOVERNMENT TERROR WARNINGS…?

All Americans
Useful
61%
Harmful
5%
Neither
31%

New Yorkers
Useful
55%
Harmful
7%
Neither
32%

For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.



This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 930 adults interviewed by telephone August 26-28, 2003. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for results based on the entire sample.

The poll of New Yorkers was conducted among a citywide random sample of 976 adults interviewed by telephone August 31- September 4, 2003. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for results based on the entire sample.

  • Joel Roberts

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