Poll finds most ‘relieved’ by Osama bin Laden’s death

May 3, 2011

Most Americans say they’re “relieved” by Osama bin Laden’s death, according to a new poll by The Washington Post and the Pew Research Center.

Fully 60 percent call themselves “proud” about the death of the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and 58 percent say they’re “happy” about it. Both emotions peak in the Northeast, the primary focus of the al-Qaeda assault in September 2001.

But it’s relief that is the prevailing reaction: 72 percent of those polled Monday evening report being relieved. On this point there’s cross-party agreement. Some 82 percent of Republicans say they’re relieved, as do 71 percent of Democrats and independents alike.

Far fewer Americans — just 16 percent — say they’re feeling “afraid” about bin Laden’s death.

More women than men admit to fear as a result, 22 percent to 9 percent.

On each of the positive one-word reactions, the numbers are highest among Republicans, significantly so when it comes to feelings of relief.

The poll, conducted by conventional landline and cellular telephone Monday, included interviews with 654 randomly selected adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.5percentage points.

Peyton M. Craighill is polling manager for the Washington Post. Peyton reports and conducts national and regional news polls for the Washington Post, with a focus on politics, elections and other social and economic issues.
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