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73% Fear Terrorists More Than Nuclear Attack

Three-out-of-four U.S. voters (73%) fear a terrorist threat more than a nuclear attack. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 16% believe a potential nuclear attack is a greater threat to the United States.

This view is shared across all demographic and partisan lines. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Last week, by a 71-26 vote, the Senate ratified a nuclear arms agreement known as the START treaty. Half (49%) of the nation’s voters wanted the Senate to confirm the START agreement even though just 27% believe Russia will honor its terms. However, just 30% were following news on the topic Very Closely.

These results come at a time when confidence in the War on Terror is at the lowest level in three years.  However, the president earns higher ratings for his handling of national security matters than he does on the economy.

Polling conducted in October found that 74% believe it’s at least somewhat likely there will be another terrorist attack in the United States in the next year. That figure includes 35% who see a potential attack as Very Likely. Those expectations, while high, are lower than the expectations in May after the Times Square bombing attempt in New York City and last December, just after a Nigerian Muslim’s attempt to blow up an airliner in Detroit.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on December 21-22, 2010 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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