Poll: Most Americans Expect "Occasional" Acts of Terrorism

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 23 2013 12:41 PM

Most Americans Have Come to Expect "Occasional" Acts of Terrorism

167209742
A man holds a flag during a moment of silence near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on the one week anniversary of the bombings

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Last week's bombing at the Boston Marathon captured the attention of more Americans than any other terrorism-related incident since 9/11, according to a new Pew poll. But while the attack and manhunt that followed were "very closely" followed by 63 percent of Americans, it wasn't necessarily because they were taken by complete surprise: For the past decade a majority of Americans have believed that "occasional acts of terrorism in the U.S. will be part of life in the future."

That belief spiked from 64 percent before the bombing to 75 percent after, but since 2003, a consistent majority of Americans have believed that we'll just have to live with occasional terrorist attacks in the U.S. from now on. Compared to a year ago, the bombing in Boston has at least temporarily erased partisan and age divides on the issue. Republicans and older Americans were notably more likely to see occasional acts of terrorism as part of life in 2012. But this week, that evened out a bit:

Screen shot 2013-04-23 at 11.23.52 AM
Advertisement

Interestingly, after the Boston Marathon bombing, researchers haven't seen an increase in worries about future attacks. Twenty-three percent of Americans are currently very worried that there will be another terrorist attack in the U.S., which is comparable to previous years. The poll doesn't define "terrorism" for respondents, so we'll assume that answers reflect public perception of the definition of that term.

The survey also asked about public reaction to media coverage of the attacks (spoiler alert: Americans are much more forgiving of CNN's big mistake than other media professionals seem to have been). Take a look for yourself here

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 2 2014 8:07 AM The Dark Side of Techtopia
  Life
Quora
Oct. 2 2014 8:27 AM How Do Teachers Kill the Joy of Reading for Students?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 2 2014 7:30 AM What Put the Man in the Moon in the Moon?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?