Poll: Confidence in Anti-Terror Response Drops

ByABC News
October 6, 2005, 2:08 PM

Oct. 9, 2005 — -- In another sign of eroding public trust in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, confidence in the federal government's ability to respond to a terrorist attack unleashing nuclear or radioactive materials has fallen sharply in the hurricane's aftermath.

At the same time, there's a positive post-Katrina development: Many more Americans (albeit still a minority) now have their own meet-up plan should an emergency occur.

Overall, 52 percent in this ABC News poll do express confidence in the government's ability to respond effectively to a nuclear or radiological terrorist attack but that's fallen from 78 percent in late August, likely a result of the troubled hurricane response.

In terms of their own preparation, 40 percent now say they have a plan for how family members will communicate, or where to meet, if there's a serious emergency. That's jumped from 26 percent in August. Katrina again seems a likely factor.

In another result relevant to the recent hurricanes, 55 percent think the area where they live could be evacuated in a timely fashion in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster. But 42 percent are not confident that could happen and just two in 10 are "very" confident their area could be evacuated rapidly.

This poll, including a detailed look at Americans' preparedness and concerns about possible terrorist attacks, supports the ABC News series "Loose Nukes on Main Street: The New Terror Threat," airing Sunday, Oct. 9 to Friday, Oct. 14. The series focuses on the security of radiological materials or the lack thereof. The bulk of this survey was conducted in August, with some questions repeated after the recent hurricanes.