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53% Support Decision to Abandon Color-Coded Threat Alerts

For many Americans, the national color-coded terror alert system had lost much of its original meaning, so it's not surprising that a majority of voters agree with the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to abandon that system in favor of more specific warnings.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters shows that 53% favor the government’s decision to abandon the color-coded threat warning system adopted after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Twenty-one percent (21%) are opposed, and another 27% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Only 17% think the warnings helped make America safer from terrorism. Sixty-one percent (61%) say the warning system did not make the country safer, but 22% are not sure.

Most voters (62%) correctly identified red as being the highest threat level under the old system. But 23% guessed the wrong color, including 17% who picked orange. Nearly one-out-of-seven voters (15%) are not sure what color represented the highest security threat in the system, 

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who announced the scrapping of the color-coded system last week, also has stated that her department plans on focusing more security measures on rail, ships and mass transit. Forty-four percent (44%) of voters like this idea, while 22% don’t. But a sizable number (34%) are undecided.
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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on January 27-28, 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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