FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll:Still A Long Way to Normal

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Only five percent of Americans feel like things in the country are completely back to normal since the September 11 terrorist attacks, according to the latest FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. Even so, it appears people are trying to take the advice of President Bush and others to get back to their routines, as 39 percent say they personally are feeling completely back to normal.

Some behaviors that have changed since September 11 include making a special effort to "be nice" to others (56 percent) and having trouble sleeping (17 percent). Just over half say they have been more likely to tell family and friends "I love you," and one-third say they are less likely to watch violent television programs or movies.

Less than 10 percent say they are eating more than usual, drinking more alcohol or using prescription drugs to sleep or overcome depression. Even fewer (three percent or less) report trying to buy a gas mask or drugs to counter bio-terrorism materials such as anthrax.

"It appears that people are trying to be brave and for the most part claim they are getting back to more normalcy in their lives," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "However, only 1 person in 20 really thinks ‘other people’ are back to normal. The healing process is clearly going to take a long time. Significant numbers of people are saying that their daily lives — at the basic level of sleeping and eating — are still being affected."

One reason people may be having trouble getting back to normal is that a large majority (71 percent) thinks another attack of the same magnitude as September 11 is likely in the near future. And while purchasing items to prepare for protecting against the use of chemical or biological weapons may be a low priority for most, a majority (67 percent) say they are very or somewhat worried that future terrorist attacks might include use of these types of items.

Support for President Bush remains high with 86 percent approving of the job he has done in responding to the attacks, and 80 percent approving of the job he is doing overall. An overwhelming majority (92 percent) approves of the job New York City Mayor Giuliani has done since the attacks.

Support for military action against the terrorists also remains high, but has dipped slightly in the last couple of weeks to 82 percent in favor — down from 89 percent favoring military action in the week following the attacks. Known terrorist Osama bin Laden is being sought "dead or alive," but more Americans would rather see him captured and brought to trial in the U.S. (51 percent) than assassinated (36 percent).

It may be spurred by patriotism, but even amid talk about a possible economic recession, 71 percent say they are optimistic about the country's economy right now, up from 55 percent in July of this year. More today say they feel safe and secure about their personal financial future than did before the attacks (67 percent today, 57 percent in August). One less optimistic signal becomes evident when the public is asked about holiday spending, with 65 percent saying they think people will spend less on holiday gifts this year compared to last.

Polling was conducted by telephone October 3-4, 2001 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ± 3 percentage points.

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as president?

2. And, do you approve or disapprove of the job Bush has done in responding to the terrorist attacks on September 11th?

3. And, do you approve or disapprove of the job New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has done in responding to the terrorist attacks on September 11th?

4. Would you favor or oppose the United States taking military action against groups that are identified as responsible for the September 11th terrorist attacks?

5. Do you think Congress should resume work on issues like energy policy, education and Social Security, or should they delay action on these until after the terrorism issue is more settled?

6. If foreigners see the U.S. Congress engaged in partisan debate over issues facing the country, do you think they are more likely to:

7. Do you favor or oppose Congress immediately passing whatever laws the attorney general and law enforcement officials say are needed to curb terrorists, even if such laws limit some civil liberties?

8. Which of the following do you think poses the greatest real threat to the United States today?
SCALE: 1. Economic recession, 2. Decline of moral standards, 3. Military or terrorist attacks, 4. (Not sure)

Note — previous to October 2001 scale was: 1. Economic recession, 2. Decline of moral standards, 3. Foreign military action, 4. (Not sure)

9. President Bush has said that Usama bin Laden is wanted "dead or alive." Would you prefer to see bin Laden assassinated or captured and brought to trial in the U.S.?

10. It is now estimated that around 6,000 people lost their lives in the September 11 attacks. If another attack of similar size were to take place, would you favor or oppose using tactical nuclear weapons against those responsible?

11. How likely do you think it is that another terrorist attack causing large numbers of American lives to be lost will happen in the near future?

12. How worried are you that future terrorist attacks might include the use of chemical or biological weapons?

13. Forgetting any issues of age or health, if it were to become necessary to defend America, would you be willing to fight and, if need be, die in this war against terrorism?
SCALE: 1. Yes, I would 2. No, I would not 3. (Not sure)

* Question wording was: "If the United States were under a military threat from a foreign country, would you be willing to fight and, if need be, die for your country?"

14. If additional military forces were needed in this war against terrorism, would you approve or disapprove of re-instituting the draft?

15. Would you say you feel optimistic or pessimistic about the U.S. economy right now? (If optimistic/pessimistic) Is that strongly or only somewhat?

16. How about your own personal financial situation. Are you frightened about your personal financial future or do you feel safe and secure?
SCALE: 1. Frightened, 2. Safe and secure, 3. (Neither), 4. (Not sure)

17. In the last month have you put money in the stock market or taken money out of the market?

18. How likely do you think it is that you or someone in your family will lose their job this year?
SCALE: 1. Very likely, 2. Somewhat likely, 3. Not very likely, 4. Not likely at all, 5. (Already happened)*, 6. (Not sure)

*New category Oct 01

19. Have you personally tried to reduce your household and personal spending because of concern about a possible recession or job loss?

20. What did you do with your tax rebate check — did you:

21. How much money do you think you will spend on holiday gifts this year? (OPEN ENDED)

22. Do you think people will spend more or less on holiday gifts this year compared to last?

23. Do you feel like things are getting back to normal since September 11? Would you say that things are:

24. And what about you personally — are you feeling back to normal?

Since September 11, have you been more likely or less likely to:
SCALE: 1. More likely 2. Less likely 3. (Same) 4. (Not sure)

Since September 11, have you:
SCALE: 1. Yes 2. No 3. (Not sure)

32. Canceled or postponed travel plans?

33. Donated blood?

34. Made a special attempt to display the flag?

Since the September 11 terrorist attack, have you found yourself doing any of the following?
SCALE: 1. Yes 2. No 3. (Not sure)

35. Deciding not to attend a previously scheduled gathering of friends or associates because you didn’t want to be around people

36. Eating more than normal or eating more special foods than normal, such as dessert

37. Having an alcoholic drink that you would not normally have had

38. Awakening with nightmares or having trouble sleeping

39. Making a special effort to be nice to people

40. Asking your doctor for a prescription for sleep or anti-depressant drugs

41. Asking your doctor for a prescription for drugs to counter anthrax or other bio-terrorism materials

42. Purchasing or looking into the purchase of a gas mask

43. Do you agree or disagree: "People of the Muslim faith who oppose terrorist activities have a special obligation to help defeat Usama bin Laden?"

44. Do you think the news media have been sensationalizing the terrorist attacks or acting responsibly?