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Americans Expect A Brussels-Like Attack At Home

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Following the horrific bombings of an airport and metro station in Brussels earlier this week, a sizable number of Americans say they’ll be avoiding European travel in the near future and most expect a similar attack to happen on U.S. soil.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 63% of American Adults believe it’s at least somewhat likely there will be a terrorist attack similar to the one in Brussels in the United States in the next year. That includes 27% who say such an attack is Very Likely. Twenty-two percent (22%) say a Brussels-like attack is unlikely, with only four percent (4%) who say it’s Not At All Likely. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

For comparison, 65% of Americans said after the attack on a satirical magazine in Paris last year that it is likely an attack on those critical of Islam would happen in this country in the next year, including 26% who said it was Very Likely. There were stronger expectations of similar attacks happening following the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and the failed bombing attempt in Times Square in 2010

A separate survey shows that 50% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the government does not focus enough on the threat of domestic Islamic terrorism

However, only 16% believe the United States can ever be made completely safe against terrorist incidents like the one in Brussels. That compares to 11% who said so after the Boston attacks. Sixty-nine percent (69%) believe the country cannot ever be made completely safe. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure.

Forty-three percent (43%) of adults say they are less likely to travel to Europe in the next six months following the terrorist bombing in Brussels. Forty-five percent (45%), however, say the attacks will have no impact on their travel plans. Just seven percent (7%) say they are more likely to travel to Europe following the bombing.

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The survey of 1,000 American Adults was conducted on March 22-23, 2016 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.

The Islamic State group (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Brussels. Sixty percent (60%) of voters still consider ISIS a Very Serious threat to the United States, but a plurality (47%) continues to rate the Obama administration's efforts against ISIS as poor.

Majorities of Americans across most demographic groups expect an attack similar to the one in Brussels to happen in the United States in the next year. Adults 40 and over feel more strongly about this than younger Americans do.

Seventy-six percent (76%) of Republicans say a similar attack is likely, a view shared by 57% of Democrats and 60% of adults not affiliated with either party.

Still, strong majorities of Americans across the demographic spectrum agree that it’s impossible for the country to ever be made completely safe from such terrorist incidents.

Older Americans are more likely than those under 40 to say the Brussels attack will make them less likely to travel to Europe in the near future.

Married adults and those with children are more likely than other adults to say the attacks will make them less likely to travel to Europe.

Soon after the Brussels attacks, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz called for increased monitoring of Muslim neighborhoods in the United States. Last year, 32% of voters - and 43% of Republicans - said most individual Muslims should be monitored by the government as potential terrorists.

Forty-six percent (46%) of voters also favored Donald Trump’s proposed temporary ban on all Muslims entering the United States until the federal government improves its ability to screen out potential terrorists from coming here.

Voters aren’t quite as negative about U.S. efforts in the fight against terrorism in general, but they are more divided than ever when it comes to U.S. involvement in the Middle East. 

Sixty percent (60%) believe the United States is at war with radical Islamic terrorism

Following the attacks in Paris last fall, 49% said the United States should formally declare war on ISIS

Several countries in Europe have been struggling to deal with an influx of refugees from Syria, but only 23% of voters last year favored President Obama’s plan to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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