Poll: Shock Gives Way To Anger

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant tapes a scene with actor Jeremy Piven for the HBO series "Entourage" at the Staples Center before the Lakers basketball game against the Golden State Warriors Tuesday, April 11, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)
AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian
Americans are no longer shocked, they're angry, according to a CBS News Poll.

The public has rallied around the President and is confident in the government's ability to find and punish those responsible for the tragedy. Americans overwhelming support military response — and most expect there will be war. And while concerns about terrorist acts in their own community have declined, there are new worries about the U.S. economy.

The Public's Anger And Support For Retaliation

On Tuesday night, Americans said their first response to that day's tragedy was shock, horror and generally bad feelings. On Wednesday, there came anger, an emotion almost entirely missing in the attacks' immediate aftermath.

More than a quarter of those interviewed on Wednesday said their feeling about the attacks was one of anger. A similar number said they just generally felt bad. Fourteen were horrified. Eight percent said they were shocked. On Tuesday night, shock and horror were the dominant responses.

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How America Feels




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Men are especially likely to say that they are angry — 36 percent of men interviewed on Wednesday said this, compared with 19 percent of women.

As anger increases, so does support for military retaliation. On Wednesday, more than seven in ten favored military action even if that meant killing innocent people. Eighteen percent opposed it.

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Another possible reason for the high level of support for military action is the expectation by 55 percent of the public that the attacks, which many likened to Pearl Harbor, will in fact lead to war.

Rallying Around

Confidence in the U.S. government's ability to catch the people who planned the attacks remains high — 90 percent are confident this will happen, with 55 percent saying they are very confident.

There is also increased confidence in President Bush. As happens in times of crisis, the American public has rallied around its President. In the interviews conducted over both Tuesday and Wednesday, three-quarters approved of the way Mr. Bush was handling the attacks. Just under one in ten disapproved.

Mr. Bush's Handling Of The Attacks
Approve 76%
Disapprove 9%

And his support is bipartisan. Ninety percent of Republicans approve of the way President Bush is handling the crisis, as do 68 percent of Democrats.

Perceptions of President Bush as a strong leader have also increased. In Wednesday's interviews, 65 percent said Mr. Bush had strong qualities of leadership, up from 54 percent in June. However, during last fall's presidential campaign, Mr. Bush's postive rating on leadership among registered voters was nearly 70 percent.

The President's overall approval rating has also soared. And it too shows bipartisan majorities approving of the way the president is handling his job. Seventy-two percent of those interviewed in the last two days approve, up from 50 percent two weeks ago.

Fears Of Terrorism

Fewer Americans worried about terrorist acts in their own communities the day after the destruction than did so in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. On Wednesday, 36 percent said they were very concerned about a terrorist attack in the area in which they live. Tuesday night, 43 percent were very concerned.

Women continue to be more concerned than men; people in rural areas are less worried than those in big cities.

Fears About The Economy

Although fears about a terrorist attack in their own community have declined, there may be growing concern about the economic impact of Tuesday's tragedy. Nearly three-quarters of Americans interviewed Wednesday said that the U.S. is in or near an economic recession, up from 68 percent in April. Nearly half said the U.S. was already in recession, more than at any other time this year.

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This poll wa conducted among a nationwide random sample of 1,041 adults interviewed by telephone September 11-12, 2001. 402 were interviewed on September 11, and 638 on September 12. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for results based on the entire sample. The error on the Wednesday sample could be four points, and the error on the Tuesday sample could be plus or minus five percentage points.

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

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