Public: Not Enough Safeguards for Mass Transit

by David W. Moore

But generally satisfied with steps to protect airlines

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Following the initial terrorist bombings in London on July 7, Americans have become more worried about terrorism here in the United States. The most recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey finds a nine-point increase since June in the number of Americans who are worried about personally becoming a victim of terrorism.

In the current poll, 47% of Americans express some worry about becoming a terrorist victim, up from 38% who expressed that view in the June 16-19 poll.

However, the current poll also shows that the additional terrorist acts in London since the initial bombings have not caused Americans to become more worried about further attacks in the United States in the next several weeks. Today, more than half of all Americans, 57%, say it is likely there will be further acts of terrorism in the United States in the next several weeks, very similar to the 55% measure Gallup obtained two weeks ago after the London bombings, but up substantially from mid-June. At that time, just 35% said further terrorist attacks were likely.

Given how easily it appeared that terrorists were able to attack the subway and bus system in London, Americans are not confident that the U.S. government has done enough to prevent terrorist acts on the mass transit systems in this country. Fifty-three percent say the federal government has not done enough, while 39% say it has, and another 2% say it has already done too much.

These views contrast with the public's perception of how much the government has done to protect the airlines. Fifty-seven percent say it has done "the right amount," while 35% say not enough, and 5% say too much.

Significant Partisan Differences

A comparison of responses to these terrorism questions by party affiliation shows some major differences in perceptions. Relatively few Republicans, 38%, are worried about becoming a terrorist victim, with 62% not worried. By contrast, independents and Democrats are about evenly divided -- with independents leaning slightly in the worried direction, 51% to 49%, and Democrats showing about the same results, 52% to 48%.

The differences among the partisan groups are more modest in the prediction of further terrorism in the United States. Majorities of all three groups say such attacks are likely, though the margins are larger among independents and Democrats than among Republicans.

By 52% to 47%, Republicans say terrorist attacks are likely within the next several weeks, while the comparable figures among independents and Democrats are 59% to 40%, and 59% to 39%, respectively.

Partisan differences are also modest in the public's assessment of government efforts to protect the mass transit systems in the United States. While 52% of Republicans say the government has done enough and only 39% say not enough, majorities of the other two partisan groups, 59% each, say the government has not done enough, while only about a third in each case say it has.

Similarly, the three partisan groups show major differences in their responses about government efforts to protect the airlines. By close to a 3-to-1 margin, Republicans say the government has done enough rather than not enough, while Democrats are evenly divided. In this case, independents are more like Republicans than Democrats.

The poll also showed no difference in President George W. Bush's approval rating from two weeks ago. It is currently at 49%, identical to the July 7-10 measure, and little different from what it has been for the past several months.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,006 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted July 22-24, 2005. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

12. How worried are you that you or someone in your family will become a victim of terrorism -- very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not worried at all?


Very worried

Somewhat worried


Not too worried

Not
worried
at all

KNOW A VICTIM (vol.)


No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

2005 Jul 22-24

14

33

30

23

*

*

2005 Jun 16-19

8

30

36

26

*

*

2005 Jan 7-9

10

28

37

24

*

1

2004 Dec 17-19

13

28

34

25

*

*

2004 Oct 14-16

13

34

33

20

*

*

2004 Sep 3-5 ^

11

32

36

21

--

*

2004 Aug 9-11 ^

8

26

36

30

--

*

2004 Feb 9-12

10

30

36

24

*

*

2004 Jan 2-5

5

23

42

30

*

*

2003 Dec 5-7

9

28

38

25

*

*

2003 Aug 25-26

11

30

33

26

*

--

2003 Jul 18-20 ^

6

24

38

32

*

*

2003 Apr 22-23 ^

8

26

39

26

*

1

2003 Mar 22-23

8

30

38

24

--

*

2003 Feb 17-19

8

28

33

31

*

--

2003 Feb 7-9 ^

13

35

34

18

*

*

2003 Jan 23-25

8

31

36

25

--

*

2002 Sep 2-4

8

30

37

25

*

*

2002 May 28-29

9

31

37

22

1

*

2002 Apr 22-24

8

27

39

25

1

*

2002 Mar 4-7

12

33

32

23

*

*

2002 Feb 4-6 ^

8

27

39

25

--

1

2001 Nov 26-27

8

27

34

30

1

*

2001 Nov 2-4

11

28

34

26

--

1

2001 Oct 19-21 †

13

30

33

23

*

1

2001 Oct 11-14 †

18

33

35

14

*

*

2001 Oct 5-6 †

24

35

27

14

*

*

2001 Sep 21-22 †

14

35

32

18

*

1

2001 Sep 14-15 †

18

33

35

13

*

1

2001 Sep 11 † ‡

23

35

24

16

1

1

2000 Apr 7-9 ^

4

20

41

34

--

1

1998 Aug 20 ‡ ♠

10

22

38

29

--

1

1996 Jul 20-21 ‡

13

26

34

27

--

*

1996 Apr 9-10 ♣

13

22

33

32

--

*

1995 Apr 21-23 ♣

14

28

33

24

--

1

(vol.) Volunteered response

* Less than 0.5%

^ Asked of a half sample

† WORDING: How worried are you that you or someone in your family will become a victim of a terrorist attack -- very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not worried at all?

‡ Based on one night poll of national adults with a margin of error of ±4 pct. pts.

♠ WORDING: How worried are you that someone in your family will become a victim of a terrorist attack similar to the bombing in Oklahoma City?

♣ WORDING: How worried are you that you or someone in your family will become a victim of a terrorist attack similar to the bombing in Oklahoma City?

13. How likely is it that there will be further acts of terrorism in the United States over the next several weeks -- very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not at all likely?

Very
likely

Somewhat
likely

Not too
likely

Not at
all likely

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2005 Jul 22-24

12

45

32

10

1

2005 Jul 7-10

12

43

35

9

1

2005 Jun 16-19

4

31

45

18

2

2005 Jan 7-9 ^

8

31

44

15

2

2004 Dec 17-19 ^

10

38

39

12

1

2004 Jul 19-21 ^

12

39

34

11

4

2004 Jan 9-11 ^

7

39

36

16

2

2003 Aug 25-26 ^

10

44

35

10

1

2003 Jul 18-20 ^

7

33

41

16

3

2003 May 19-21

12

45

32

8

3

2003 Mar 22-23

21

52

20

6

1

2003 Feb 7-9 ^

16

50

23

9

2

2002 Sep 13-16 ^

12

44

31

10

3

2002 Sep 2-4

12

48

28

9

3

2002 Jul 5-8 ^

15

41

30

12

2

2002 May 20-22 ^

21

44

25

7

3

2002 Mar 8-9 ^

9

43

32

13

3

2001 Dec 14-16 ^

17

45

27

8

3

2001 Nov 2-4 ^

24

50

16

6

4

2001 Oct 19-21 ^

40

45

10

3

2

2001 Oct 7 † ‡

41

42

9

4

4

2001 Sep 21-22 ‡

22

44

24

8

2

^ Asked of a half sample

† Polls conducted entirely in one day, such as this one, are subject to additional error or bias not found in polls conducted over several days.

‡ WORDING: How likely is it that there will be further terrorist attacks in the United States over the next several weeks -- very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not at all likely?

Q.14-15 ROTATED

14. Do you think the federal government is -- [ROTATED: doing too much, doing the right amount, or not doing enough] -- to prevent acts of terrorism on mass transit systems, such as subways, buses, and trains?

Too much

Right amount

Not enough

No opinion

2005 Jul 22-24

2%

39

53

6

15. Do you think the federal government is -- [ROTATED: doing too much, doing the right amount, or not doing enough] -- to prevent acts of terrorism on airplanes?

Too much

Right amount

Not enough

No opinion

2005 Jul 22-24

5%

57

35

3

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