Is America Safer Today?

Our readers aren't particularly confident that the airlines and Washington have improved security much

Americans are still worried about the possibility of terrorist attacks on the U.S., according to the results of our Aug. 30 Reader Survey. Of the nearly 900 people who responded, some 38% thought U.S. law-enforcement agencies are doing a better job than before of gathering intelligence on terrorists -- but a combined 54% think the answer is no or maybe.

Similarly, 34% of those who responded say law-enforcement agencies are doing a better job of analyzing the information they have on potential terrorists, but 28% think they aren't, and another 28% think the answer is maybe.

STILL OUT THERE?

  Readers were less optimistic on several other questions: Some 43% think air travel is no safer than a year ago, vs. the 35% who think it is. Nearly 54% say it's no safer to work in a skyscraper than it was a year ago, vs. the 20% who think it is. And 50% are not very confident that the Bush Administration can protect the U.S. from future terrorist attacks, vs. the combined 31% who are either very or somewhat confident that it can.

One explanation for such worries may be that nearly 58% of those who responded believe that Osama bin Laden is still alive, vs. the 18% who think he isn't. Whether he's dead or alive, the attacks he inspired on America are still foremost in the minds of the public.

Here are the complete results, which as always are unscientific, since anyone who wished to could participate:

Do you think U.S. law-enforcement agencies are doing a better job than before of gathering intelligence on potential terrorists?

Option Total %  
Yes 324 37.63 %
No 214 24.85 %
Maybe 251 29.15 %
Not Sure 72 8.36 %

Do you believe that U.S. law-enforcement agencies are doing a better job than before of analyzing all the information they've collected on potential terrorists?

Option Total %  
Yes 295 34.46 %
No 243 28.39 %
Maybe 243 28.39 %
Not sure 75 8.76 %

Do you believe that airline travel is safer than it was a year ago?

Option Total %  
Yes 304 35.35 %
No 367 42.67 %
Maybe 142 16.51 %
Not sure 47 5.47 %

Do you believe that Americans who work in skyscrapers are safer than they were a year ago?

Option Total %  
Yes 171 19.95 %
No 462 53.91 %
Maybe 142 16.57 %
Not sure 82 9.57 %

How confident are you that the Bush Administration and law-enforcement agencies can protect the U.S. from future terrorist attacks?

Option Total %  
Very confident 49 5.67 %
Somewhat confident 213 24.65 %
Somewhat unconfident 120 13.89 %
Not very confident 436 50.46 %
Not sure 46 5.32 %

Do you believe that Osama bin Laden is dead or alive?

Option Total %  
Dead 158 18.37 %
Alive 498 57.91 %
Not sure 204 23.72 %
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