According to a new poll, Americans are more likely to say that terrorists are winning the war against the United States than they have been at any point since the September 11 attacks.
The CNN/ORC poll said that the public is broadly unhappy with the nation's progress, with nearly three-quarters of Americans saying they are not satisfied with how the war on terror is proceeding. That figure, following terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, this fall, is well above the previous high of 61% who said they were dissatisfied in August 2007, said CNN.
While less than half of Americans say the terrorists are winning, the current 40% who do believe that is 17 points above the previous high of 23% reached in August 2005. Another 40% say neither side has an advantage, and just 18% say today that the U.S. and its allies have the upper hand -- 10 points off the previous low for that measure, reached in January 2007.
A majority of Republicans, 55%, say they think the terrorists are winning, while most Democrats, 52%, feel neither side has an edge.
For the first time, the poll said, a majority of Americans say government can prevent all major attacks if it works hard enough at it (few, however, see that happening). Just 45% say that "terrorists will always find a way to launch major attacks no matter what the U.S. government does," down from about 6 in 10 who said so in most previous polling on this question.
Fifty-three percent of Americans polled say the U.S. can absolutely repel attacks, with more likely than Democrats to express this confidence (58% of Republicans say all attacks can be prevented vs. 46% of Democrats). In a survey conducted around the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, majorities across party lines said terrorists would always find a way: 55% of Democrats, 62% of independents and 55% of Republicans.
Yet worries that a terrorist attack could hit home are at their highest level since 2005. Only about half express confidence that the Obama administration can protect U.S. citizens from future acts of terrorism. Overall, 45% say they are very or somewhat worried that they or someone in their family will become a victim of terrorism.
Fifty-one percent have at least a moderate amount of confidence in the White House's ability to protect citizens from terrorism or more. But just 17% say they have a great deal of confidence in this protection, down from 24% who said the same in January 2010.