Thursday, April 01, 2004

Poll: Bush mishandling WOT 

"You can fool some of the people some of the time..."

Fewer than half of all Americans think the country is safer now than it was on Sept. 11, 2001, and more than three-quarters expect the United States to be the target of a major terrorist attack at home or abroad in the next few months, according to a new poll.

The survey findings come at a time when national security is a central issue in the presidential campaign, and after the Bush administration waged wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the name of fighting terrorism and making the United States safer from foreign threats. The findings follow by one year the creation of the Department of Homeland Security to better focus government resources on the task of keeping Americans safe at home. And they exist in an environment in which numerous buildings and airports have been fortified with security checkpoints to ward off potential attacks.

"These numbers present a big challenge," said Patricia McGinnis, president of the council, "because less than 50 percent feel more safe today than they did after September 11, after all that's happened."

A spokesman for the Bush administration's National Security Council declined to comment on the record on the survey results.

The council commissioned the poll by Hart/Teeter Research as part of a larger homeland security initiative that included a series of town hall meetings and will result in recommendations on what government, citizens and businesses can do to improve the fight against terrorism.

The survey numbers show that the country is making progress, McGinnis said.

Ivo H. Daalder, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who specializes in homeland security issues, said despite the progress, President Bush and other policymakers should not find much comfort in the poll results.

"If I were in the White House, I would be worried because the essence of what I'm arguing is that I am now safer than I was before," Daalder said. "The total money that we have spent on the war on terrorism writ large is well over $200 billion. And if I can't get people to see that we're safer, that either means that I'm not spending the money well or my message is not getting out or, in fact, they've given up. They don't think we can actually do much about it."
(via WaPo)

Looks like our war preznit has some 'splainin' to do....

It would be interesting to have a red/blue breakdown of this, given that the big blue cities are the ones actually in danger, from a loose nuke or a dirty bomb, for example. What would the averages in this poll conceal?

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