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39% Say Government Not Focusing Enough on Threat of Domestic Islamic Terrorism

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A House committee is expected to begin controversial hearings today about the potential danger of domestic Islamic terrorism, and a sizable number of voters think the government is not paying enough attention to this possible threat. Most voters still worry, too, about homegrown terrorist attacks.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 39% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the federal government does not focus enough on the potential threat from domestic Islamic terrorism, although nearly as many (38%) say the government’s anti-terrorism focus is about right. Just 14% believe the government pays too much attention to potential homegrown Islamic terrorists.  (To see survey question wording, click here.)

However, 64% are at least somewhat concerned that people who have become U.S. citizens will attempt to commit terrorist acts against the United States, with 33% who are Very Concerned. Thirty-five percent (35%) do not share that concern, but that includes only eight percent (8%) who are Not At Al Concerned.

Still, the level of concern is down from early last May just after an unsuccessful terrorist bombing effort in New York City’s Times Square. At that time, 80% were at least somewhat concerned that people who have attained U.S. citizenship would attempt to commit a terrorist attack against America.

But 53% of voters are also at least somewhat concerned that efforts to identify and arrest domestic terrorists will end up violating the civil rights of some U.S. citizens, including 21% who are Very Concerned. Forty-three percent (43%) express little concern about this possibility, with 11% who are Not At All Concerned.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on March 8-9 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.

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