Poll: Americans Fear Terrorist Attack by Americans

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Blog | April 12, 2010

Americans worry about a terrorist attack mounted by Americans, in the wake of letters threatening governors and arrests in a Michigan militia group that allegedly plotted to kill police officers, according to a new poll.

While 69 percent think it very likely that a terrorist attack on U.S. soil will be carried out by foreigners in the next year, a majority of 58 percent foresee a terrorist attack on U.S. soil carried out by Americans.

Angus Reid Public Opinion surveyed 1,005 American adults on the 15th anniversary of extremists' lethal bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

The survey asked about the Hutaree plot, in which federal prosecutors charge that the paramilitary militia group plotted to kill a law enforcement officer, and then attack officers attending the funeral.

The poll found that a wide majority of Americans have followed the story in the media. A total of 61 percent agreed that the Hutaree plot was "real and serious," while just 4 percent felt it was a "fantasy and not serious." Thirty-five percent were not sure.

Gov. Chris Gregoire of Washington was one of the governors who received a letter, signed by a group called Guardians of the Free Republic, warning them to leave office within three days or be removed.

The Guardians threat has received less attention. Still, 37 percent of those surveyed agreed that the group "represent a threat": 18 percent said they do not, with 45 percent unsure.

Angus Reid asked a more general question about such far-right groups: "Which of these statements comes closer to describing your own point of view about groups like the Huntaree and the Guardians of the Free Republic?"

Just 8 percent said the groups are "freedom fighters": 51 percent identified them as "terrorists." A total of 17 percent said "Neither" with 23 percent "Not Sure."


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