The Christmas Day 2009 bombing attempt has caused Americans to take a tougher attitude toward national security, according to a poll conducted by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
More than three out of four respondents say it is very likely (35 percent) or somewhat likely (43 percent) that in the near future there will be a terrorist attack in the United States with a large number of casualties. And Americans overwhelmingly now support (86 – 11 percent) new airport security measures even if they mean longer delays in air travel.
The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,767 registered voters from Jan. 5-11, 2010.
“The failed Christmas Day attempt to blow up a flight into Detroit has the American people security conscious,” said Peter Brown of Quinnipiac. “Apparently, personal safety overrides concerns about modesty,” he added. “In addition, voters don’t want Guantanamo closed; they don’t want terrorists tried in civilian courts and they back singling out those who look Middle Eastern or travelers from some heavily Muslim nations for extra scrutiny.”
In the poll, 63 percent of voters said that the government’s anti-terror policies lean too far toward protecting civil rights rather than national security (25 percent said they did not). And by 84 – 13 percent, they back greater use of airport body scanners.
Voters also say (52 – 44 percent) that law enforcement should be able to single out people who look Middle-Eastern for screening and questions, and by 79 – 16 percent, they back the recent decision to subject air travelers from 14 designated countries – most of them nations with large Muslim populations – to extra screening.