Poll: 15 Years After Oklahoma City, Domestic Terrorism Still Viewed as Serious Threat

People visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial site Tuesday, April 19, 2005, on the 10th anniverary of the federal building bombing where 168 people were killed. AP

CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

It's been 15 years since the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City, an act of terrorism committed by an American, Timothy McVeigh. While more Americans see the threat of international terrorism as more serious, nearly four in 10 think domestic terrorism is a bigger issue, according to a new CBS News poll.

When asked which is more serious -- international or domestic terrorism -- 46 percent of Americans say international terrorism committed by citizens from other countries. Fewer, 38 percent, think domestic terrorism perpetrated by American citizens is the larger threat.

Views on this question have changed a bit from eight years ago, just eight months after the 9/11 attacks. The percentage choosing international terrorism has fallen by 10 points, and the number picking domestic terrorism is now up eight points.

There are some demographic differences on this issue. More than half of men think international terrorism is the more serious threat, while women are more divided, with slightly more saying the threat of domestic terrorism (44 percent) is more serious than international terrorism (40 percent).

Older Americans are more likely to think terrorism committed by citizens from other countries is more of a concern, while younger people say terror acts carried out by Americans citizens are more threatening.

Region matters, too. International terrorism is of most concern to those living in the Midwest, while domestic terrorism is more serious for those living in the Northeast.

There's little difference when it comes to political party. Over four in 10 Republicans, Democrats and independents say the threat of international terrorism is more serious.

Read the Complete Poll


This poll was conducted among a random sample of 858 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone March 29-April 1, 2010. Phone numbers were dialed from random digit dial samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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