Polls: Americans fear gov’t over terrorism

Recent polling tells the grim story of the underlying fear many Americans express about our government. For the first time since September 11, 2001, Americans are more fearful their government will abuse constitutional liberties than fail to keep its citizens safe.

Even in the wake of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings, in which a pair of radical Islamic jihadist brothers are accused of planting explosives that took the lives of 3 and wounded over 200 — two distinct polls indicate Americans are unwilling to give up any further freedoms in exchange for promises of increased “security.”

This Fox News poll of a random sample of 619 registered voters the day after the Boston bombings found interviewees responded very differently than following 9/11 in which nearly 3000 lost their lives.  For the first time since a similar question was asked in May 2001, more Americans answered “no” to the question: “Would you be willing to give up some of your personal freedom in order to reduce the threat of terrorism?”

Of those surveyed on April 16, 2013, 45% answered “no” to the question, compared to 43% answering “yes.” In May 2001, before 9/11, 40 percent answered “no” while 33% answered “yes.”

Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, there was a dramatic reversal as 71% of Americans agreed to sacrifice personal freedom to reduce the threat of terrorism. Subsequent polls asking the same question in 2002, 2005 and 2006 found Americans consistently willing to give up freedom in exchange for security. There was a marked decline from 71% following 9/11 to only 54% by May 2006.

Today it appears the sentiment expressed in Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote — “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety” — is more valued by Americans than it has been in over a dozen years.

This Washington Post survey, using a similar polling sample of 588 adults, conducted April 17 and 18 also discovered the change in attitude. “Which worries you more,” the Post asked, “that the government will not go far enough to investigate terrorism because of concerns about constitutional rights, or that it will go too far in compromising constitutional rights in order to investigate terrorism?”

The poll found 48% of respondents worry the government will go too far, compared to 41% who worry it won’t go far enough.

And similar to the Fox News poll, the Post found the worry to be a new development. Only 44% worried the government would go too far in January 2006 and only 27% expressed such concerns about governmental overreaches in January 2010.

The Fox News poll broke the responses down further by political affiliation:

A troubling 51% of Democrats responded they would forfeit personal freedom to reduce the threat of terror, compared to 36% who opposed the concept.

Forty-seven percent of Republicans opposed giving up freedoms, compared to only 43% in favor.

Independents were the most resistant, with only 29% willing to sacrifice freedom, while 58% opposed losing constitutional rights.

6 Responses to Polls: Americans fear gov’t over terrorism

  1. American Dad says:

    As a nation we have fallen, but most of us are “trying to get up.” That over half of Democrats would trade their freedom for increased government power is more terrifying than any maniacal Muslim threat.

  2. eubykdisop says:

    While the Obama administration continues to abuse our constitutional liberties in the name of “security”, internationally it is dictating to Israel that it may not take independent action to preserve it’s security!

    “U.S. delivers strong warning to Israel”

    “Amid fears Iran about to cross so-called red line”

    “TEL AVIV – According to informed Middle Eastern security officials, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivered a strongly worded message to Israel – do not attack Iran.”

    “The officials told WND that Hagel informed the Israeli government the Obama administration will not accept any unilateral Israeli attack against Iran and that Israel must not strike Tehran without coordination with the U.S.”

    “Hagel further told Israel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot decide alone whether Iran has crossed the nuclear threshold, or the so-called Red Line previously outlined by the Israeli leader.”


    In the minds of the Obama administration, Israel is no longer a sovereign nation which can make it’s own decisions about defending itself from nuclear Jihad. They have to get permission from Obama and Chuck Hagel! Isn’t it strange how with the Obama administration that things always seem to turn out in favor of Muslim nations!

    Secretary of State John Kerry’s daughter married an “Iranian-American” and her husband has family in Iran. Think that could have anything to do with it?

  3. Capt. Marvel says:

    Interesting about John Kerry’s daughter being married to an Iranian. And his predecessor Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin (wife of disgraced former Congressman, the perfectly named, Anthony Weiner ) is related to honchos in the Muslim Brotherhood. Abedin’s father, her mother, and her brother are deeply connected to the anti-Semitic Muslim Brotherhood. Of course John McCain jumped to defend her. McCain and Hillary are old pals.

    • eubykdisop says:

      Hi, Capt. Marvel!

      Kerry’s daughter and her “Iranian-American” husband travelled to Iran after their wedding to visit with her husband’s family in Iran where he has many relatives. Nice, huh?

  4. eubykdisop says:

    Whose “security” is the Obama administration concerned about? Their own “political security”, as Democrats hope to take the House and Hillary plans her 2016 presidential run?

    “Obama administration officials threatened whistle-blowers on Benghazi, lawyer says”

    “By James Rosen, Published April 29, 2013”

    “At least four career officials at the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency have retained lawyers or are in the process of doing so, as they prepare to provide sensitive information about the Benghazi attacks to Congress, Fox News has learned.”

    “Victoria Toensing, a former Justice Department official and Republican counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, is now representing one of the State Department employees. She told Fox News her client and some of the others, who consider themselves whistle-blowers, have been threatened by unnamed Obama administration officials.”

    “I’m not talking generally, I’m talking specifically about Benghazi – that people have been threatened,” Toensing said in an interview Monday. “And not just the State Department. People have been threatened at the CIA.”

    “It’s frightening, and they’re doing some very despicable threats to people,” she said. “Not ‘we’re going to kill you,’ or not ‘we’re going to prosecute you tomorrow,’ but they’re taking career people and making them well aware that their careers will be over [if they cooperate with congressional investigators].”

    “Federal law provides explicit protections for federal government employees who are identified as “whistle-blowers.” The laws aim to ensure these individuals will not face repercussions from their superiors, or from other quarters, in retaliation for their provision of information about corruption or other forms of wrongdoing to Congress, or to an agency’s inspector-general.”


  5. eubykdisop says:

    And here is the Liberal nature of the “security” for which Obama would have us give up further personal freedoms:

    “Tsarnaev family received $100G in benefits”

    “By: Chris Cassidy, April 29, 2013”

    “The Tsarnaev family, including the suspected terrorists and their parents, benefited from more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded assistance — a bonanza ranging from cash and food stamps to Section 8 housing from 2002 to 2012, the Herald has learned.”

    “The breadth of the benefits the family was receiving was stunning,” said a person with knowledge of documents handed over to a legislative committee today.”

    “The state has handed over more than 500 documents to the 11-member House Post Audit and Oversight Committee, which today met for the first time and plans to call in officials from the Department of Transitional Assistance to testify.”


    Security for whom? We should give up more personal freedoms so that we can pay for the security of food and housing for Islamic Jihadists?