Poll: Americans Taking London Attacks in Stride

If the recent attacks were meant to heighten public fear, the strategy isn't working: Americans are taking the London terrorist bombings in stride, with no increase in public concern about the threat of terrorism overall, or in terms of personal safety.

Sampling, data collection and tabulation for this poll were done by TNS.

Seventy-three percent of Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll say they're worried about the possibility of another major terrorist attack in the United States -- about the same as the average since October 2001. That includes 30 percent who are worried "a great deal" about another attack, also very near the average.

In terms of personal safety, 31 percent are worried that they themselves might become a victim of terrorism, and just 9 percent are worried a great deal about it. These, too, are very close to their averages since shortly after Sept. 11, 2001.

Worried About Another Attack?
  NET Great deal Somewhat Not much/none
Now   73%   30   43   27
Average since 10/01   74   29   45   25

Worried about being a victim?
  NET Great deal Somewhat Not much/none
Now   31%   9   22   68
Average since 10/01   34   9   24   66

Official measures and pronouncements meant to reassure the public may be one factor, but so is a general public resilience in the face of adversity, shown, for example, in polls after 9/11 and also after the anthrax attacks in the fall of 2001.

Concern about terrorism is higher in some groups than others. For example, women are more likely than men to worry about another major attack in the United States and to be concerned that they themselves will be victims. Concern about terrorism is also higher in the Northeast, which has already been directly attacked, than elsewhere in the country. Forty-two percent of Northeasterners worry about being a victim of a terrorist attack, compared to just over a quarter of those in the Midwest and West.

Although the recent terrorist attacks took place around downtown London, urban residents in the United States are not more likely than those who live in suburbs or rural areas to be concerned about an attack in this country or one that hurts them.

Terrorist bombs in the London subways and on a bus killed 56 people July 7. A similar attack yesterday failed when the backpack bombs didn't ignite.


This ABC News poll was conducted by telephone July 21, 2005, among a random national sample of 500 adults. The results have a 4.5-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS Intersearch of Horsham, Pa.

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