United in Remembrance, Divided over Policies

Sep 01, 2011

Ten years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the events of that day retain a powerful hold on the public’s collective consciousness. Virtually every American remembers what they were doing at the moment the attacks occurred. Substantial majorities say that 9/11 had a profound personal impact and that the attacks changed the country in a major way.

Yet the public continues to be divided over many of the anti-terrorism policies that arose in the wake of Sept. 11, and these differences extend to opinions about whether U.S. wrongdoing prior to 9/11 may have motivated the attacks: 43% say yes, while 45% disagree. In late September 2001, 33% said U.S. wrongdoing might have motivated the attacks, compared with 55% who said it did not.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Aug. 17-21 among 1,509 adults, finds that the public offers generally positive ratings of the government’s response to the terrorist threat. Yet when asked why there has not been another major attack on the U.S., 43% credit government policies while only somewhat fewer (35%) say it is because the country has been lucky so far.

Read the full report, United in Remembrance, Divided over Policies, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.

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