Nearly Three-in-Four Say They Are Worried of Another Attack in U.S.
In August 2013, more than a decade removed from the attacks of 9/11, 88.4% of Oklahomans agreed that occasional acts of terrorism in the U.S. will be part of life in the future. 18-24 year-old Oklahomans polled were less likely than older Oklahomans to see terrorism as part of life in the future; 74.1% agreed with the statement, compared with 90.6% of those ages 65 and older.
The poll found a fairly narrow partisan gap on this question. 86.7% of Republicans polled in Oklahoma saw terrorism as part of life in the future, compared with 90.6% of Democrats and 83.3% of Independents.
Oklahoman’s overall concerns about terrorism reveal almost three out of four citizens are worried there will be soon be another terrorist attack in the U.S. A combined 73.0% of those polled indicate they are either very or somewhat worried that another attack will occur soon.
Comparable percentages of Democrats (26.6%), Republicans (30.2%) and Independents (31.4%) express they are very worried about another attack soon.
This statewide survey conducted by SoonerPoll.com from August 28-September 5, 2013 among 361 registered Oklahoma voters, finds more than half of the state believes the steps the government has taken since September 11, 2001 have made the country safer from terrorism: 55.9% say all things considered, the steps taken by the government have made the country safer from terrorism, while 41.0% believe it has not had much effect.
Oklahomans Believe Islamic Extremist Groups Still Most Likely to Attack
In March 2010, 71.4% of Oklahomans polled believed Islamic extremist groups were MOST LIKELY to commit an act of terrorism in the United States in the next six months. Today (2013) 67.7% express this same view that Islamic extremist groups are the biggest threat for an attack. 55-64 year-olds are far more concerned with foreign based and domestic Islamic extremists (76.1%) than 18-24 year olds (36.8%) in Oklahoma.
Over the past three years there has been an apparent shift in how Oklahomans view the threat with an increase in concern over reactionary or right-wing extremist groups. In 2010, 8.8% of Oklahomans polled suggested right wing groups such as white supremacists groups, para- military or militia groups and anti-abortion groups were most likely to commit an act of terrorism in the U.S. in the next six months. Today, the concern over reactionary/right wing groups has risen to 12.0%. (Note the 2013 survey exchanged anti-abortionist groups with sovereign citizens as an example of reactionary or right-wing extremist groups.)
Oklahomans Agree Citizens Should Play a Role in Their Own Safety
Overall, 96.6% say they believe U.S. citizens should play a role in their own safety and report suspicious activity/behavior. No doubt the advancement of technology, even since 9/11, has increased citizens access to news reports. More information in theory means a more informed citizenry. When asked if they were to see something suspicious as it related to terrorist activity, 59.5% polled stated it was EXTREMELY LIKELY they would call police with that information. 28.0% reported it was VERY LIKELY they would call law enforcement if they were to see something suspicious in terms of terrorism related activity.
It appears education and awareness has improved over the last three years. When asked the same question in 2010, a total of 52.3% of registered Oklahoma voters responded they would call police if they saw something suspicious as it relates to terrorism.
MIPT’s Comment and Analysis
Are we safer? It’s a question that invariably is asked every 9/11 anniversary and at each remembrance of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19th. The answer undoubtedly is yes, however there will always be more we can do. At MIPT we believe better information gathering, reporting and sharing is the key and it does not just apply to law enforcement at every level, but also the people poised to see anomolies; the citizenry.
All it takes it one missed clue to change peaceful suburbia into chaos and shut down local economies sending fear rippling like a wave. Safer communities truly require everyone.
If the U.S. is to be effective in its security and countermeasures, the terrorist organizations must change tactics in response. Only then can it continue to mount successful attacks with any reliability.
It has been over a decade since 9/11, and Western security services have enjoyed dozens of successful preventions, called “failures” in the camps of the opponent. The U.S.’s relentless pursuit of the terrorists leadership has weakened Al Qaeda’s central command. However, we cannot forget the idea of Al Qaeda or the vision of Islam that movement supports, which has grown around the globe. There are splinter groups in a dozen countries.
We must remember this is a long war. Inevitably, Al Qaeda, its ideology and its influence will decline. This decline, when it happens, will be a decade’s long process, and Al Qaeda will likely become barbarously violent in its death throes.
This truth increases our risk of danger, but as the poll shows more people appear willing to get involved and take action. Remember, the action need not be large, just a phone call can mean the difference.
About the Survey
The data for this report is based on telephone interviews conducted August 28-September 5, 2013 among a statewide sample of 361 adults who are registered voters living in Oklahoma. The survey was conducted by SoonerPoll.com a subsidiary of Shapard Research. The survey had a margin of error of 5.2%.