The new Secretary of Homeland Security may have just been formally nominated, but the public expects his job will soon get even tougher. A large majority thinks another major terrorist attack will happen in the near future, and protecting the country from terrorism is seen as an equally important job as helping the economy recover.
A new FOX News poll, conducted by Opinion Dynamics Corporation, finds that 76 percent of the public think another terrorist attack is likely soon (37 percent say very likely). This is up slightly from October 2001, less than a month after the September 11 attacks, when 71 percent said more attacks were likely.
"The attacks in Kenya and the continuous warnings in other parts of the world are clearly causing people more concern," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "I think one of the questions going forward is how patient people are going to be about the threat of terrorism. Will they accept a kind of 'Cold War' against terrorism where the threat is all present or will they start to demand action to end the fear."
Showing a somewhat cynical view of Washington, more Americans think the newly created Department of Homeland Security will lead to increased bureaucracy than to increased safety from terrorism. Fewer than one-third (30 percent) see the new agency helping make the United States safer, while 39 percent see it as more red tape in Washington.
Almost four times as many Americans approve of the nomination of former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge to be secretary of the new department as disapprove (41 percent to 11 percent), but almost half of the public (48 percent) had no opinion of the nomination.
On the newly created commission to investigate how the September 11 terrorists were able to attack, the public is divided on whether the independent panel will uncover new information (42 percent) or whether everything is already known (43 percent). A majority approves (56 percent) of the appointment of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to head the 9/11 commission, while 22 percent disapprove and 22 percent are unsure.
President Bush's handling of the war on terror continues to receive positive marks. Two-thirds of Americans approve of the job Bush is doing handling terrorism and 22 percent disapprove. While Bush's approval rating on handling terrorism is strong, it is down 4 percentage points since late September and down 23 percentage points since the beginning of the year when this rating was at a high of 89 percent.
As has been the case in the past, Bush's ratings on handling terrorism are higher than for managing the economy. Just under half approve (47 percent) and 40 percent disapprove of Bush's job performance managing the economy. When asked which of these two competing priorities is more important for the government to work on right now, 24 percent say terrorism and 22 percent say the economy, but 51 percent are unable to choose and volunteer the response "both."
Overall, 65 percent approve of the job Bush is doing as president (24 percent disapprove). His highest marks come from Republicans (89 percent), high-income groups (71 percent), men (68 percent), and those living in the South (76 percent).
Iraq Will Fail to Disclose Weapons
A strong majority of Americans expect Iraq will violate the United Nations resolution by missing the December 8 deadline to disclose its weapons programs.
This week's FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll shows that only 14 percent of Americans think Iraq will fully disclose information on its weapons by this weekend, while over three-quarters think Iraq will fail to meet the deadline. A smaller majority (57 percent) says that if Iraq misses the deadline, that violation is enough to require the United Nations to support U.S. military action against Saddam.
Many believe (73 percent) that if Iraq has or obtains nuclear weapons that the United States would be a target.
Americans say that Iraq is a topic that comes up often with friends and neighbors these days. More than any other issues, Iraq and the war on terror are frequent topics for 29 percent, followed closely by the economy and the stock market (25 percent).
Polling was conducted by telephone December 3-4, 2002 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. LV = likely voters
I'm going to read the names of some people. Please tell me whether you have a generally favorable or unfavorable opinion of each. If you've never heard of one, please just say so. (RANDOMIZE)
SCALE: 1. Favorable 2. Unfavorable 3. (Not sure) 4. Never heard of
1. George W. Bush
2. Al Gore
3. Dick Cheney
4. Bill Clinton
5. Do you approve or disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as president?
6. Do you approve or disapprove of the job President Bush is doing handling terrorism?
* Wording: "responding to the terrorist attacks"
7. Do you approve or disapprove of the job President Bush is doing managing the economy?
8. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Dick Cheney is doing as vice-president?
9. In your everyday conversations with friends and neighbors, what topic would you say comes up most often these days? (OPEN ENDED)
10. Which do you think is more important for the government to work on right now -- (helping the economy recover) or (protecting the country from terrorism)? (ROTATE CHOICES)
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?
SCALE: 1. Very likely 2. Somewhat likely 3. Not very likely 4. Not likely at all 5. (Not sure)
12. If another terrorist attack were to happen in the United States and cause large numbers of American lives to be lost, would you favor or oppose a military retaliation on the home country of the terrorists?
13. Do you think the recently created Department of Homeland Security will make the United States safer from terrorism or will it mostly increase Washington bureaucracy?
14. Do you approve or disapprove of the nomination of former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge to be the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security?
15. Do you think the recently created independent commission to investigate how terrorists were able to strike on September 11 will come up with new information, or is everything already pretty much known?
16. Do you approve or disapprove of the selection of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to head the commission investigating the September 11 terrorist attacks?
17. If Iraq has or if it were to obtain nuclear weapons, do you believe Iraq would attempt to use them against the United States?
18. The United Nations resolution on Iraq requires full disclosure of all weapons programs by December 8. Do you think Iraq will meet the deadline and disclose all of its weapons programs?
19. If Iraq fails to meet the December 8 deadline, do you think that violation is enough to require the United Nations to support U.S. military action against Iraq?
20. The British government has released a document that accuses Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of using torture, rape and terror to oppress the Iraqi people. Do you think these charges of human rights violations are enough to require the United Nations to support U.S. military action against Iraq?
How concerned are you about each of the following?
SCALE: 1. Very concerned 2. Somewhat concerned 3. Not very concerned
21. Terrorist attacks
22. Smallpox attacks by terrorists
23. The nation's economy
24. The stock market
25. Even though there are some risks involved with taking the smallpox vaccine, the government may offer vaccinations to protect Americans in case of a bio-terrorism attack. If a smallpox vaccination were offered to you, would you take the shot or not?