Study Shows that Americans Expect Terrorism to Continue in the Future

Boston Aftermath

New research conducted in the aftermath of the April 15, 2013 Boston bombings indicates that three in four Americans “see occasional terrorism as part of life in the future.”

Conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press in the days following the Boston bombings, this survey polled a national sample of over 1,000 people aged 18 and over. It sought to discover Americans’ views on terrorism, the levels to which they follow media coverage of terrorist attacks, and what more, if anything, can be done to prevent domestic terrorism. A few key findings include the following:

• 75% of Americans agree that “occasional acts of terrorism will be part of life in the future,” a statistic that has increased since April of 2012, when 64% of people expressed this view
• 63% of Americans followed the Boston story very closely, largely via television and the internet, versus 78% following the 9/11 attacks
• Of the people who followed the media coverage of the bombings, “about seven-in-ten (72%) say the press has done either an excellent (32%) or good (40%) job” and “relatively few say they have done an only fair (14%) or poor (8%) job in their reporting”
• “The public is evenly divided over whether there is more the government can do to prevent attacks like the one in Boston: 49% say there is more the government can do to prevent such attacks, but nearly as many (45%) say there is not much more that can be done”
• “Six-in-ten (60%) say steps taken by the government since Sept. 11, 2001 have made the country safer, while 35% say these actions have not had much of an effect”

While research found that the American public does expect terrorism to continue, the survey also concluded that “there is little evidence that the public’s overall worries about terrorism have spiked.” Only 23% of those polled reported feeling “very worried” that there would be another attack on U.S. soil in the near future.

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