66% Think America Has Changed for the Worse Since 9/11
Sunday, September 11, 2011
More Americans than ever believe the nation has changed for the worse since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but most also still think the world would be a better place if more countries were like the United States.
Two-out-of-three adults (66%) say America has changed for the worse since 9/11, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Just 18% believe the country is a better place today, while six percent (6%) think it hasn’t changed. Eleven percent (11%) aren’t sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
In October 2001, a month after the attacks, 57% believed America had changed for the better. In January 2002, 61% felt that way. But sentiments have been shifting in the opposite direction ever since. In May, just after the killing of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, just 21% said America has changed for the better, while 57% thought the change has been for the worse.
Still, 53% of Americans believe the world would be better off if other countries became more like this one, consistent with findings in recent years but down from 71% in the fall of 2002. Only 18% feel that the world would be worse off if other nations emulated the United States. But a sizable 30% are undecided.
While radical Muslims were the perpetrators of the 9/11 sneak attacks, most Americans (55%) do not believe Muslims in this country have been treated unfairly over the past 10 years. Twenty-eight percent (28%) think Muslims in America have been treated unfairly, while another 16% are not sure.
In March as a House committee was holding hearings on the threat of domestic terrorism, just 17% of Likely U.S. Voters felt that Muslims living in this country were being treated unfairly because of their religion and ethnicity, even though only 10% believed these Muslims were speaking out enough against potential terrorist attacks in the United States.
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The national survey of 1,000 American Adults was conducted on September 7-8, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Thirty-eight percent (38%) of Americans think many Americans have already forgotten the impact of the terrorist attacks a decade ago, down from 44% a year ago. Forty-seven percent (47%) disagree, but 16% more are not sure.
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Just under one-in-three Americans (32%) plan to attend a special ceremony to commemorate 9/11. Fifty-six percent (56%) do not plan to attend such an event, while 12% are still undecided.
Americans are more confident since bin Laden’s death that his al Qaeda terrorist group is weaker than it was before 9/11, but 61% still believe it at least somewhat likely that an attack similar to 9/11 could occur within the next 10 years, including 29% who see it as Very Likely.
Men feel more strongly than women that America has changed for the worse since 9/11. Younger adults believe that more strongly than their elders. Men and younger adults are also more likely to think many Americans have forgotten the impact of the 9/11 attacks.
Republicans believe more strongly than Democrats and adults not affiliated with either of the major parties that the world would be a better place if more countries were like the United States.
Fifty-four percent (54%) of Democrats think Muslims in this country have been treated unfairly since the events of September 2001. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Republicans and 62% of unaffiliated adults reject that premise.
Confidence in the course of the War on Terror surged following the killing of bin Laden but has since been falling back. Forty-four percent (44%) of voters now say the United States and its allies are winning the War on Terror. Fifteen percent (15%) believe the terrorists are winning that war, while 31% say neither is winning.
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