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Poll: Confidence in Gov’t to Protect from Terrorism at All Time Low

Americans’ confidence in government to keep citizens safe from terrorism has hit an all time low, according to a new poll released Friday.

Following the San Bernardino terrorist attack, which killed 14, Gallup reports that just 55 percent of Americans have faith in the government’s ability to protect against future terrorist attacks, the lowest level since Gallup began taking the poll in 2001. Shortly after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, 88 percent of Americans had confidence in the government’s ability.

December’s results are 12 percentage points lower than June’s results, when 67 percent of Americans expressed confidence in the government’s ability to combat the terrorist threat.

The poll was taken from December 8-9, after Islamic terrorists murdered 14 people in San Bernardino on December 2.

Gallup reports that while Americans have steadily been losing confidence in the government since 2001, the San Bernardino shooting lead to a precipitous fall compared to the more gradual decline over the past decade and a half.

“[T]he peculiarities of the latest shootings may particularly affect Americans’ views of what their government can do to prevent such events, because one of the shooters was a U.S.-born Muslim, while the other was a woman and a mother — a statistical anomaly among terrorists’ profiles. Most prior perpetrators of terrorist attacks in the U.S. were young males,” Gallup reported in its analysis.

While fewer people feel safer due to government, there was only a slight increase in the percentage of people worried that they or a loved one would be a victim of a terrorist attack, up from 49 percent earlier in the year to 51 percent.

Additionally, the percentage of people who believe there will be a terrorist attack in the “next several weeks” has increased substantially compared to earlier this year — from 45 percent to 67 percent.

The nationwide poll of 1,013 adults has a margin of error of +/14 percentage points.

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