Dec. 2 Gallup Poll: Majority of Americans Thought Near-Term Terrorism Unlikely

Posted on December 30, 2009


While perusing through Gallup’s polls tonight, I came across the following from Dec. 2: “Majority of Americans Think Near-Term Terrorism Unlikely“.  The first paragraph is as follows:

By 57% to 39%, more Americans think a terrorist attack on the United States is unlikely to happen in the next few weeks than say an attack is likely. This is based on Gallup polling conducted Nov. 20-22, prior to President Obama’s address to the nation on Afghanistan in which he said the need to fight terrorism is the primary reason he is committing more U.S. troops to the conflict there.

Yes, just a month ago, only 39% of people polled thought that a terrorist act would be likely in the near future.  

Yet here we are, three short weeks later, having barely escaped another terrorist attack on an American plane which could have left 300 passengers and one Islamic jihadist dead, with only a faulty detonator to thank for the failure.

So how did we arrive at this  point, in 2009, where 57% of people wouldn’t think a terrorist attack is likely in the near future?  Had we grown so comfortable in our 8 years of unbroken protection here at home that we could only vaguely imagine a attack sometime “down the road?”  Had Al-Qaeda started to go the way of myth in the typical American’s mind?  Was 9/11 becoming a bad dream that we survived but didn’t need to dwell on any longer?  Just three days before the Christmas “underwear bomber” tried to bring down Flight 253, democrat Senator John Murtha said so much:

“I don’t agree there is a threat to national security,” Murtha said, while not ruling out the possibility that he could be wrong about al-Qaida’s influence.  “They keep saying they’ve defeated al-Qaida.”

Are we Americans that short-sighted? 

Personally, the longer we’d gone without “hearing from” Al-Qaeda, made me think the more likely a new attack would occur.  Al-Qaeda is driven by ideology and will not stop in its attempt to attack us by whatever means it feels it can, whenever it can.  If this requires them to wait for us to let down our guard, they will oblige happily while inventing new and unique ways of forming and hiding explosives to bypass detection.  Their patience should not be underestimated.  The time difference between the first World Trade Center bombing and 9/11 are proof of that.  On all major American holidays, a thought creeps into my mind that “this could be the day” we see another attack.  And living in a southern border state only increases my insecurity.  Our border with Mexico is notoriously porous and no one really knows who (carrying what) manages to sneak into our country. 

Interestingly enough, from the same Gallup poll, many Republicans seem to think the same way as I do. When broken down by party affiliation and compared with poll results to the same question 2 years ago, Republicans actually increased in percentage thinking there would be a terrorist attach in the near future (up to 50% from 44% in 2007), while Democrats decreased in there belief that a terrorist attack was likely (down to 33% from 42% in 2007).

We all, including those in government, need to realize the threat to our country is still there and it must be taken seriously.  It is time again for Americans to imagine the unimaginable and to realize that as long as Al-Qaeda exists, there will be no time to rest from our vigilence in protecting our country.  It is time to mean it when we say it this time “We Will Not Forget.”

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Posted in: War on Terror