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Washington Post-ABC News Poll: Terror Threats

Monday, May 20, 2002

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll is based on telephone interviews with 803 randomly selected adults nationwide and was conducted May 18 - 19, 2002. The margin of sampling error for overall results is plus or minus 4 percentage points. Sampling error is only one of many potential sources of error in this or any other public opinion poll. Interviewing was conducted by TNS Intersearch of Horsham, Pa.

*= less than 0.5 percent

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president? Do you approve/disapprove strongly or somewhat?

            ---------Approve---------   --------Disapprove-------     No 
            NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Strongly   Somewhat    opin.
5/19/02     76       48         28      22       13          8         3
4/21/02     78       47         31      20       10          9         2
3/28/02     79       49         30      18       10          8         3
3/10/02     82       52         30      16        7          9         2
1/27/02     83       56         27      14        7          7         3
12/19/01    86       64         22      12        6          6         2
11/27/01    89       69         21       9        5          4         1
11/6/01     89       65         24       9        4          5         2
10/9/01     92       76         16       6        3          3         1
9/27/01     90       70         20       6        3          3         4
9/13/01     86       63         23      12        6          5         2
9/9/01      55       26         29      41       22         20         3
8/12/01     61       28         33      31       17         14         8
7/30/01     59       28         30      38       22         17         3
6/3/01      55       27         28      40       22         18         6
4/22/01     63       33         30      32       16         16         5
3/25/01     58       NA         NA      33       NA         NA         8
2/25/01     55       NA         NA      23       NA         NA        22

2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bush is handling the U.S. campaign against terrorism? Do you approve/disapprove strongly or somewhat?

            ---------Approve---------   --------Disapprove-------     No 
            NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Strongly   Somewhat    opin.
5/19/02     79       51         27      19       10          9        3
4/21/02     81       56         25      18       10          7        2
3/10/02     88       64         24      10        5          5        2
1/27/02     88       NA         NA      10       NA         NA        2
12/19/01    89       67         22       9        5          4        2
10/15/01    92       75         17       5        3          3        3

3. How much confidence do you have in the ability of the U.S. government to prevent further terrorist attacks against Americans in this country: a great deal, a good amount, only a fair amount or none at all?

            --------Confident--------    -----Not confident----     No   
            NET   Grt.deal   Good amt.   NET   Fair amt.   None    opin.    
5/19/02     46       17         29       52       42        10       2       
3/10/02     55       18         38       44       39         5       *       
1/27/02     57       18         40       42       37         6       1       
11/27/01    63       24         39       36       32         5       1       
11/6/01     52       17         35       47       40         7       1       
9/11/01     66       35         31       32       30         2       1       
6/2/97      35       10         26       62       52        10       3       
8/5/96      35       12         23       65       49        16       *       
5/14/95     36       12         24       63       51        12       1       
4/20/95     37       13         24       62       51        11       1       
6/28/93     59       22         37       41       32         8       1       
4/3/89      46       16         30       54       38        16       *

4. Do you think the United States government did all it reasonably could do to try to prevent the September 11th terrorist attacks, or do you think it could have done more?

               US did           US could         No
            all it could     have done more     opin.
5/19/02          43                53             3
9/13/01*         31                65             4
9/11/01*         43                44            13

*9/13/01 and previous: "these attacks"

5. Do you think the United States is doing all it reasonably can do to try to prevent further terrorist attacks, or do you think it should do more?

              US doing      US should      No
             all it can      do more      opin.
5/19/02          54            42          4
3/10/02          66            33          1
12/19/01         59            40          1
11/27/01         62            36          1
11/6/01          56            43          2
10/15/01         68            29          3
10/9/01          71            27          2

6. Do you happen to have heard or read recent news stories that Bush was briefed last summer, before the September 11th terrorist attacks, about intelligence reports of a possible terrorist plot to hijack American airplanes?

            Yes     No     No opin. 
5/19/02      83     16         1

7. Do you think the Bush administration did or did not do enough to follow up on these intelligence reports, given what was known at the time?

             Did       Did not do      No
            enough       enough       opin. 
5/19/02       44           46          10

8. Does it sound to you like these intelligence reports were detailed enough for the government to have taken specific action to increase security, or do you think these reports were too vague for the government to know what action to take?

            Detailed     Vague     No opin.
5/19/02        32          56         12

9. It's also been reported that an FBI agent last July proposed an investigation of Arabs taking flight-school training in the United States. The FBI did not follow up on this proposal. Do you regard this more as a missed opportunity, or more as negligence on the part of the FBI?

              Missed           FBI         Both     Neither      No 
            opportunity     Negligence    (vol.)     (vol.)     opin. 
5/19/02          41             50           3         2          4

10. Do you think the administration should or should not publicly release the intelligence information about terrorist threats that it had last summer?

            Should      Should not      No
            release       release      opin. 
5/19/02        47           47           5

11. Do you think the U.S. Congress should or should not conduct an investigation into what the Bush administration knew about terrorist threats before September 11th and how it handled that intelligence?

            Should      Should not      No
            conduct       conduct      opin. 
5/19/02        56           41           3

12. Compared to the way it handled intelligence reports about terrorist threats last summer, do you think the Bush administration is now doing a better job handling intelligence about terrorist threats, a worse job, or what? (IF BETTER) Is that much better or somewhat better?

            ----------Better---------                About the       No
            NET     Much     Somewhat     Worse     same (vol.)     opin.
5/19/02     82       39         43          3            6            9

© Copyright 2002 The Washington Post Company


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