Another Terrorist Attack Likely, But Most Feel Safer

Posted June 3, 2003 at 2:28pm

Eighty-two percent of those surveyed in the May 17-19 NBC News and Wall Street Journal poll said it is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that the United States would be the target of another major terrorist attack at home or overseas in the next few months. The responses were similar to the organizations’ polls in 2002. [IMGCAP(1)]

In the May 9-11 CBS News and New York Times poll, 42 percent said the Bush administration has made a lot of progress in developing a comprehensive plan for protecting the country against terrorism; 44 percent said the administration has made some progress. The percentage of those surveyed who see a lot of progress is up from 17 percent in September 2002. The percentage who see some progress was down from 63 percent.

In the new poll, the Bush administration’s marks in this area were considerably higher than they were on the economy, in which 7 percent saw a lot of progress and 43 percent some. Other differences: jobs, 2 percent versus 34 percent; prescription drugs, 2 percent versus 17 percent; Social Security and Medicare for future generations, 5 percent versus 30 percent; and improving the schools, 6 percent versus 38 percent.

Fifty-eight percent said the Republican Party is more likely to make the right decisions about terrorism; 18 percent selected the Democratic Party

In the May 19-21 Gallup poll, 35 percent said they had a great deal of confidence in the Bush administration to protect citizens from future acts of terrorism and 44 percent said they had a moderate amount. Fifteen percent had not much confidence and 5 percent none at all.

State Aid. Although Congress has now provided some financial help for the states, the move never had substantial public support.

In the late-April CBS News poll, 35 percent favored having the federal government give more money to the states to help them meet their budgets even it if meant higher federal deficits. But 57 percent thought the states should handle their budgets themselves, either by raising taxes or cutting services.

Democrats were divided: 47 percent favored a bailout and 45 percent were opposed. Substantial numbers of Republicans (66 percent) and independents (59 percent) opposed federal help.

In the poll, 49 percent of residents in states with severe budget problems (California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Oregon and Texas) thought the states should take care of their budget problems themselves; 42 percent favored federal help.

In the late-April-early-May Princeton Survey Research Associates and Pew Research Center poll, 26 percent said they were following news about state budget problems very closely. Fifty percent said their state government was spending less than it did last year on health, education and other social programs and 15 percent said more. Two-thirds of those in states with severe problems said their state government was spending less.

In the May CBS News and New York Times poll, 54 percent said the states’ financial situation was very serious and 35 percent said somewhat serious.

Gone Fishing. In early May, 32 percent told Fox News and Opinion Dynamics pollsters they would like to spend part of their summer vacation with President Bush, 33 percent Secretary of State Colin Powell, and 8 percent with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Twenty-three percent chose none.

When asked about Democratic leaders, 31 percent wanted to spend some time with former President Bill Clinton, 12 percent with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and 11 percent with Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). Forty-two percent said none.

Hawks and Doves. In a May 21-22 Harris Interactive, Time and CNN poll, 47 percent described themselves “more as a hawk, that is someone who believes that military force should be used frequently to promote U.S. policy.” Forty percent said they were “more of a dove, that is someone who believes the U.S. should rarely or never use military force.”

Bush and the Economy. In the late-May CBS News poll, 36 percent said President Bush was paying enough attention to the economy, but 61 percent said he should be paying more. When asked about Congress, the responses were 22 percent and 74 percent, respectively.

Those who said the economy’s condition was bad (51 percent in the poll) were asked how it would have been if the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks had not occurred. Seventy percent said it would have been good.

In the May 9-12 CBS News and New York Times poll, 34 percent said Bush’s policies had a lot to do with the economy’s current condition, and 52 percent said a little. In January those responses were 27 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

In the May 1-2 Princeton Survey Research Associates and Newsweek poll, 37 percent said they thought a Democratic president would handle economic conditions better than Bush, but 50 percent said a Democratic candidate would not. Twenty-two percent said Bush deserved most or a lot of the blame for current economic conditions, 26 percent said the Republicans in Congress, 21 percent the Democrats in Congress and 30 percent Clinton’s policies.

In the April 27-30 ABC News and Washington Post poll, 51 percent said they trusted Bush to do a better job handling the economy and 41 percent trusted the Democrats in Congress. Fifty-one percent trusted the Democrats more on creating jobs, 40 percent Bush.

Fifty-one percent said Bush was spending too little time on the economy, 44 percent said the right amount and 2 percent too much. Of those who said he was spending too little time on it, 35 percent said he was ignoring the issue, but 61 percent said it’s just that he has had more important problems to deal with.

In the early-May NBC and Wall Street Journal poll, 28 percent said the economic downturn had affected them and their family a great deal, 33 percent a little and 38 percent said it had not directly affected them.