In Depth: Topics A to Z

Osama bin Laden

Is Osama bin Laden Planning a Significant Terrorist Attack Against the U.S.?

How closely are you following the news about the U.S. military finding and killing Osama bin Laden -- very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely, or not at all?

Very
closely

Some-
what
closely

Not too
closely

Not at all

No
opinion

2011 May 5-8

42%

41

12

4

1

Do you approve or disapprove of the U.S. military action that killed Osama bin Laden?

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

2011 May 2

93%

5

3

How important do you think it is to the U.S. that Osama bin Laden was killed -- extremely important, very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important?

Extremely


Very

Some-
what

Not
too

Not
at all

No
opinion

2011 May 2

45%

34

15

4

1

1

Do you think it would have been better for the U.S. to -- [capture Osama bin Laden alive, (or to) kill Osama bin Laden]?

Capture

Kill

No opinion

2011 May 2

33%

60

7

Prior to hearing the news that Osama bin Laden was killed, did you think it was likely or unlikely that the U.S. would ever capture or kill bin Laden?

Likely

Unlikely

No opinion

2011 May 2

57%

40

3

Do you think the death of Osama bin Laden will make the U.S. safer or less safe from terrorism?

Safer

Less safe

No difference (vol.)

No opinion

2011 May 2

54%

28

12

6

(vol.) = Volunteered response

Does the death of Osama bin Laden make you more confident that the U.S. can succeed in the war against Islamic terrorism, or not? [IF YES, PROBE: Does it make you a lot more confident or only a little more confident?]

Yes, a lot
more confident

Yes, a little
more confident

No, not more
confident

No
opinion

2011 May 2

39%

34

23

4

Does the death of Osama bin Laden make you more confident in Barack Obama as commander-in-chief, or not? [IF YES, PROBE: Does it make you a lot more confident or only a little more confident?]

Yes, a lot
more confident

Yes, a little
more confident

No, not
more confident

No
opinion

2011 May 2

32%

21

43

4

How much credit do you give each of the following for the actions that led to the U.S. finding and killing Osama bin Laden -- a great deal, a moderate amount, not much, or none at all? How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

Barack Obama

Great
deal

Moderate
amount

Not
much

None
at all

No
opinion

2011 May 2

35%

36

16

12

1

George W. Bush

Great
deal

Moderate
amount

Not
much

None
at all

No
opinion

2011 May 2

22%

30

22

25

2

The CIA

Great
deal

Moderate
amount

Not
much

None
at all

No
opinion

2011 May 2

62%

26

4

2

6

The U.S. military

Great
deal

Moderate
amount

Not
much

None
at all

No
opinion

2011 May 2

89%

9

1

1

1

How likely is it that the U.S. will be able to capture or kill Osama bin Laden -- very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not at all likely?

Very
likely

Somewhat
likely

Not too
likely

Not
at all
likely

Already
dead
(vol.)

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

2006 Jun 9-11

25

39

22

12

*

2

2005 Aug 5-7

17

38

28

14

1

2

2004 Sep 3-5 ^

21

45

20

11

1

2

2002 Sep 2-4

21

38

26

10

2

3

2002 Mar 8-9

16

39

29

13

--

3

2001 Dec 14-16

43

33

16

6

--

2

2001 Nov 26-27

34

44

15

6

--

1

* Less than 0.5%

(vol.) = Volunteered response

^ Asked of a half sample

How important do you think it is to the U.S. that Osama bin Laden be captured or killed -- extremely important, very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important?

Extremely

Very

Somewhat

Not
too

Not
at all

No
opinion

2006 Jun 9-11

36%

28

22

8

5

1

2005 Aug 5-7

37%

26

24

7

5

1

2004 Sep 3-5 ^

37%

31

22

6

3

1

^ Asked of a half sample

Just your best guess, do you think Osama bin Laden himself is currently planning a significant terrorist attack against the United States, or not?

Yes, is

No, is not

No opinion

2006 Jan 20-22

70%

24

6

2005 Aug 5-7

76%

20

4

Do you think Osama bin Laden will -- or will not -- succeed in launching this attack?

[BASED ON ADULTS WHO SAY OSAMA BIN LADEN IS CURRENTLY PLANNING A SIGNIFICANT TERRORIST ATTACK AGAINST THE UNITED STATES]

Yes, will

No, will not

No opinion

2006 Jan 20-22

42%

50

7

2005 Aug 5-7

53%

42

5

[COMBINED RESPONSES]

2006 Jan 20-22

2005 Aug 5-7

%

%

Osama bin Laden current planning attack

70

76

(Yes, will succeed)

(30)

(40)

(No, will not succeed)

(40)

(36)

Osama bin Laden is not planning attack

24

20

No opinion

6

4

Just your best guess, do you think it is likely -- or unlikely -- that Osama bin Laden will be captured or killed in 2006?


Likely


Unlikely

Already dead (vol.)

No
opinion

2005 Dec 16-18 ^

27%

68

2

3

(vol.) = Volunteered response

^ Asked of a half sample

Just your best guess, do you think Osama bin Laden himself is currently planning a significant terrorist attack against the United States, or not?

Yes, is

No, is not

No opinion

2005 Aug 5-7

76%

20

4

Do you think Osama bin Laden will -- or will not -- succeed in launching this attack?

[BASED ON ADULTS WHO SAY OSAMA BIN LADEN IS CURRENTLY PLANNING A SIGNIFICANT TERRORIST ATTACK AGAINST THE UNITED STATES]

Yes, will

No, will not

No opinion

2005 Aug 5-7

53%

42

5

[COMBINED RESPONSES]

2005 Aug 5-7

%

Osama bin Laden current planning attack

76

(Yes, will succeed)

(40)

(No, will not succeed)

(36)

Osama bin Laden is not planning attack

20

No opinion

4

If Osama bin Laden is captured or killed, do you think -- [ROTATED: the threat to the U.S. from the al Qaeda terrorist network will be eliminated, (or) the al Qaeda terrorist network will still remain a threat to the U.S.]?

Threat
eliminated

Will remain
a threat

Already dead
(vol.)

No
opinion

2005 Aug 5-7

5%

92

1

2

(vol.) = Volunteered response

Just your best guess, do you think there are terrorists associated with Osama bin Laden who are currently in the United States and are capable of launching a major terrorist attack against the U.S., or not?

Yes, are terrorists

No, are not

No opinion

2002 Sep 20-22

86%

10

4

2002 Sep 2-4

88%

10

2

Do you expect that these terrorists will commit an act of terrorism in the United States in -- less than three months, less than six months, less than one year, less than two years, in longer than two years, or never?

[BASED ON 862 WHO SAY THERE ARE TERRORISTS ASSOCIATED WITH BIN LADEN WHO ARE CURRENTLY IN THE U.S. CAPABLE OF LAUNCHING MAJOR ATTACKS]

Less
than
3 months

Less
than
6 months

Less
than
1 year

Less
than
2 years

Longer
than
2 years

Never

No
opin-
ion

2002 Sep 20-22

5%

18

33

23

8

5

8

[COMBINED RESPONSES]

2002 Sep 20-22

%

Yes, are terrorists associated with Osama bin Laden in the U.S.

86

Less than 3 months

(4)

Less than 6 months

(16)

Less than 1 year

(29)

Less than 2 years

(19)

Longer than 2 years

(7)

Never

(4)

Unsure

(7)

No, are not terrorists associated with Osama bin Laden in the U.S.

10

No opinion

4

Which comes closer to your view -- [ROTATED: the U.S. accomplishments in Afghanistan will be a success even if Osama bin Laden is not captured, (or) the U.S. accomplishments in Afghanistan will not be a success until Osama bin Laden is captured]?


Success


Not a
success

Both/
Neither (vol.)

No
opinion

2002 Jul 5-8

38%

50

8

4

2002 Mar 8-9

47%

48

4

1

2002 Jan 11-14

44%

50

4

2

2001 Nov 26-27

41%

55

2

2

(vol.) = Volunteered response

Just your best guess, how many Muslims do you think admire Osama bin Laden -- all, most, some, only a few, or none at all?

All

Most

Some

Only
a few

None
at all

No
opinion

2002 Mar 1-3

3%

27

45

23

1

1

Just your best guess, do you think Osama bin Laden is alive or dead?

Alive

Dead

No opinion

2002 Feb 8-10

83%

12

5

Suppose Osama bin Laden is discovered in a country outside of Afghanistan and the government of that country says it is unable to capture him. Do you think the U.S. should rely on military force -- or non-military measures -- to try to bring bin Laden to justice?

[BASED ON 527 NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM A; ±5 PCT. PTS.]

Military
force

Non-military
measures

Do nothing
(vol.)

No
opinion

2002 Jan 11-14

65%

28

1

6

(vol.) = Volunteered response

Suppose Osama bin Laden is discovered in a country outside of Afghanistan and the government of that country allows him to stay in that country and refuses to try to capture him. Do you think the U.S. should rely on military force -- or non-military measures -- to try to bring bin Laden to justice?

[BASED ON 481 NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM B; ±5 PCT. PTS.]

Military
force

Non-military
measures

Do nothing
(vol.)

No
opinion

2002 Jan 11-14

65%

32

0

3

(vol.) = Volunteered response

If Osama bin Laden is captured or killed and his terrorist network in Afghanistan is destroyed, should the United States -- [ROTATED: end its current military action and bring most U.S. military forces home, (or) actively use U.S. military forces in other countries that harbor terrorists]?

[BASED ON 485 NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM A; ±5 PCT. PTS.]

End current
military action

Actively use
military forces

No
opinion

2001 Dec 14-16

30%

67

3

Which comes closer to your view about what capturing or killing Osama bin Laden means for the U.S. -- [ROTATED: it will mean the U.S. has accomplished its goals in the war on terrorism, (or) it will be just one step in a long campaign against terrorism worldwide]?

[BASED ON 534 NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM B; ±2 PCT. PTS.]

Accomplished
basic goals

One step in a
long campaign

No
opinion

2001 Dec 14-16

5%

93

2

Based on what you have heard or read about the videotape of Osama bin Laden, which of the following comes closer to your view -- [ROTATED: it proves beyond a reasonable doubt that he helped to plan the September 11th terrorist attacks, (or) it proves that he was happy the September 11th terrorist attacks occurred, but did not prove that he helped to plan them]?


Proves he helped
to plan attacks

Proves he was just
happy attacks occurred


No
opinion

2001 Dec 14-16

73%

17

10

Suppose Osama bin Laden is captured alive and put on trial, do you think he should be tried by -- [ROTATED: an international court, (or by) U.S. authorities]?

[BASED ON 485 NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM A; ±5 PCT. PTS.]

International court

U.S. authorities

No opinion

2001 Dec 14-16

37%

59

4

Suppose Osama bin Laden is captured alive and put on trial by the U.S., would you rather see that happen in -- [ROTATED: a regular court of law in which evidence would be presented in a public trial, (or) a military tribunal in which U.S. officers would examine evidence in secret hearings]?

[BASED ON 485 NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM A; ±5 PCT. PTS.]

Regular court of law

Military tribunal

No opinion

2001 Dec 14-16

41%

54

5

Suppose Osama bin Laden is captured alive, put on trial, and found guilty. Do you think he should be -- [ROTATED: sentenced to death, (or should he be) sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance of parole]?

[BASED ON 485 NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM A; ±5 PCT. PTS.]

Death

Life in prison with
no chance of parole

No
opinion

2001 Dec 14-16

69%

28

3

In your opinion, which of the following would be better for the U.S. -- [ROTATED: if Osama bin Laden is killed, (or) if Osama bin Laden is captured alive]?

Killed

Captured alive

No opinion

2001 Nov 26-27

54%

43

3

Suppose Osama bin Laden is captured alive by the U.S., which of the following would be better for the U.S. to do to him -- [ROTATED: execute him immediately, (or) put him on either a civilian or a military trial]?

Execute him
immediately

Put him
on trial

No
opinion

2001 Nov 26-27

35%

62

3

Suppose Osama bin Laden is captured alive and put on trial, which of the following would you prefer -- that he be -- [ROTATED: put on a public trial by an international court with judges from different countries, put on trial by a secret military tribunal by the U.S., (or) put on a public trial in a regular civilian court in the U.S.], or would it make no difference to you?

International
court

Secret
military
tribunal

Regular
civilian
court

No
difference

No
opinion

2001 Nov 26-27

41%

29

17

11

2

Based on what you have heard or read, how do you feel about Osama bin Laden's role in the September 11th terrorist attacks -- [ROTATED: you have no doubts whatsoever that he is guilty, you think he is guilty but have some doubts, (or) you do not think he is guilty]?

No doubts that
he is guilty

Thinks he is
guilty but
have doubts

Do not think
he is guilty

No
opinion

2001 Nov 26-27

80%

19

*

1

* Less than 0.5%

How confident are you that each of the following will happen -- very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at all confident? How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

A. The U.S. will capture or kill Osama bin Laden

Very confident

Somewhat confident

Not too confident

Not at all confident

No
opinion

2001 Nov 2-4

27%

39

22

9

3

B. The U.S. will remove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan

Very confident

Somewhat confident

Not too confident

Not at all confident

No
opinion

2001 Nov 2-4

42%

41

11

4

2

C. The U.S. will destroy all terrorist operations in Afghanistan

Very confident

Somewhat confident

Not too confident

Not at all confident

No
opinion

2001 Nov 2-4

17%

45

27

9

2

Overall, how much do you blame each of the following for the terrorist attacks this past Tuesday -- a great deal, a moderate amount, only a little, or not at all? How about -- [ITEMS A-E ROTATED, THEN ITEM E]?

[BASED ON 514 NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM B; ±5 PCT. PTS.]

A. Afghanistan


A great deal

A moderate
amount


Only a
little


Not
at all

No
opinion

2001 Sep 14-15

64%

21

5

4

6

B. Iraq


A great deal

A moderate
amount


Only a
little


Not
at all

No
opinion

2001 Sep 14-15

41%

32

9

9

9

C. Pakistan


A great deal

A moderate
amount


Only a
little


Not
at all

No
opinion

2001 Sep 14-15

31%

32

17

10

10

D. Palestinians


A great deal

A moderate
amount


Only a
little


Not
at all

No
opinion

2001 Sep 14-15

35%

36

10

11

8

E. Fundamentalist Muslim leaders


A great deal

A moderate
amount


Only a
little


Not
at all

No
opinion

2001 Sep 14-15

53%

25

6

6

10

F. Osama bin Laden


A great deal

A moderate
amount


Only a
little


Not
at all

No
opinion

2001 Sep 14-15

83%

7

3

3

4

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