Poll: 70% of Americans trust government to protect from terrorism

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |  June 19, 2017 at 9:38 AM
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June 19 (UPI) -- A Gallup poll shows 70 percent of Americans trust the U.S. government to protect its citizens from potential terrorist attacks, which reflects a recovery of confidence following the 2015 San Bernardino, Calif., attack.

Gallup conducted telephone interviews with 1,009 random U.S. adults from June 7-11 and asked how much -- a great deal, a fair amount, not very much or none at all -- confidence the respondent had in the U.S. government to protect citizens from future acts of terrorism.

Gallup posed the question soon after two attacks occurred in Britain, a key U.S. ally: the Manchester Arena bombing in late May in which 23 people died, including the attacker, and the London Bridge attack in early June in which 11 people died, including the attackers.

Gallup recorded the highest level of trust Americans had in the U.S. government protecting citizens -- 88 percent -- following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Under former President George W. Bush's administration after 2002, Americans' confidence in government protection ranged from 73 percent to 82 percent.

Under former President Barack Obama's administration, Americans' confidence in government protection ranged from 67 percent and 75 percent until the San Bernardino attacks, after which Gallup recorded a confidence level of 55 percent.

"Majorities of Americans over the years have expressed confidence in their government to protect its citizens against terrorism. However, the level of trust has varied and remains lower than it was in the years immediately after 9/11," Gallup said in a statement. "While confidence in the government to protect against terrorism was high after the 9/11 attacks, the 2015 attack in San Bernardino had the opposite effect -- confidence in federal protection declined to a record low."

In the poll that has a 4 percent margin of error, about 42 percent said they are "very" or "somewhat worried" that they or a family member will be the victim of a terrorist attack, a decrease from the 51 percent recorded after the San Bernardino attack. Since 1995, an average of 41 percent of Americans worried about themselves or family falling victim to terrorism.

Sixty percent of Americans believe it is "very" or "somewhat likely" that a terrorist attack will occur on U.S. soil in the coming weeks.

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