Voters express strong concern about the safety of America’s computer systems and think a major cyberattack on the United States should be grounds for forceful military retaliation.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 82% of Likely U.S. Voters are at least somewhat concerned about the safety of the country’s computer infrastructure from cyberattack. Just 17% don’t share that concern. These findings include 35% who are Very Concerned but only three percent (3%) who are Not At All Concerned. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
The Pentagon is currently considering a new defense strategy that would classify a major computer sabotage attack from another country as an act of war justifying a forceful U.S. military response. Fifty-three percent (53%) of voters agree with this proposed new strategy and think a major cyberattack on the United States by another country should be viewed as an act of war. Twenty-two percent (22%) disagree, and another 25% are undecided.
A plurality (45%) of voters regards a cyberattack by another country as a greater economic threat to the United States than a traditional military attack. Twenty-two percent (22%) still see a traditional attack as a bigger threat. One-in-three voters (33%) are not sure which is the greater threat.
Similarly, 45% of Americans said in December 2009 that a cyberattack by terrorist hackers poses a greater economic threat to the United States than another 9/11 attack on New York City and Washington, D.C. Twenty-four percent (24%) disagreed, and 32% were undecided.
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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on May 31-June 1, 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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