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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.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters 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.

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