With recent attacks in the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco thought to be the work of the Al Qaeda terrorist network, a FOX News poll finds that many Americans see the threat to the United States from Al Qaeda as greater today than before Sept. 11.
The May 20-21 national poll of registered voters, conducted by Opinion Dynamics Corporation, shows that almost four in 10 Americans (37 percent) think Al Qaeda is more of a threat to the United States today than before 9/11. Six months ago, only 27 percent of Americans thought Al Qaeda represented more of a threat.
In addition, an equal number, 37 percent, think the terrorist network currently poses the same level of threat as it did before 9/11. Only about one in five (22 percent) think the terrorist group has been weakened and is less of a threat now, essentially unchanged from the previous results (November, 2002).
"It appears that the recent attacks have rekindled some anxieties among Americans, after a prolonged period of relative success in the war against terror and in Iraq. These data show a renewed realization that while we have seriously crippled the Al Qaeda network, it can still strike at our interests around the world," stated Ernest Paicopolos, a principal of Opinion Dynamics.
The attack that took place in Saudi Arabia brought questions about that country’s efforts to fight terrorism into the spotlight. Many Americans believe the Saudis are not helping the United States on this issue, with 66 percent saying they do not trust them to be an ally in the war on terror. Only about one in five Americans (18 percent) trusts Saudi Arabia as an ally of the United States in fighting terrorism.
Half of Americans would support military action against Saudi Arabia if evidence is found that they have been aiding terrorists, while 36 percent would oppose taking action.
Majority Confident U.S. Will Find WMD in Iraq
Despite the lack of clear evidence so far, a solid majority believes weapons of mass destruction will be found in Iraq. Almost two-thirds (65 percent) think the United States will find WMD, and 25 percent disagree. Experts are still debating whether the two mobile laboratories that have been discovered were actually used to make biological weapons.
Fully 82 percent of Americans think the recent searches have been fruitless because the weapons were moved or destroyed. Only 10 percent think there never were WMD in Iraq.
Polling was conducted by telephone May 20-21, 2003 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points. Results are of registered voters, unless otherwise noted.
1. Do you think the United States will find evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction?
2. So far, the United States has found mobile laboratories that might have been used to build weapons, but has not found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Do you think this is more likely because the weapons have been moved or destroyed, or because there were no weapons in the first place?
3. Do you think the Al Qaeda terrorist network poses more of a threat or less of a threat to the United States today than it did before the 9/11 attacks, or is the threat today about the same as it was before 9/11?
(For reference, 19-20 Nov 2002) Do you think the Al Qaeda terrorist network poses more of a threat or less of a threat to the United States today than it did over a year ago, or is the threat today about the same as it was over a year ago?
4. President Bush will be attending a meeting of world leaders in early June. At the meeting, how do you think Bush should act toward French President Jacques Chirac — warm and friendly or cool and distant?
5. Do you trust Saudi Arabia to be an ally of the United States in the war on terror or not?
6. As a way to reduce the country’s dependence on oil from Saudi Arabia, would you favor or oppose drilling for oil in a portion of the Alaskan wilderness areas?
7. Would you support or oppose the United States taking military action against Saudi Arabia if evidence is found showing that they have been aiding terrorists?
8. This Memorial Day, will you be visiting a cemetery to put flowers or a flag on the grave of a friend or family member?
9. – 10. How concerned are you about each of the following:
SCALE: 1. Very concerned 2. Somewhat concerned 3. Not very concerned 4. Not at all concerned 5. (Already did) 6. (Not sure)