Americans Troubled by Recent Anti-Government Activity

April 23, 2010

by Mario Canseco

Fifteen years after the Oklahoma City bombing, many adults in the United States believe a terrorist attack carried out by Americans is likely to happen over the next 12 months, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found. Most respondents think the Hutaree plot is real and serious, and more than a third believe the Guardians of the Free Republics are a security threat.

The online survey of a representative national sample of 1,005 American adults also reveals that half of respondents describe two anti-government groups that have recently been featured prominently in the media — the Hutaree and the Guardians of the free Republics — as “terrorists.”

Terrorist Attack

More than two thirds of Americans (69%) think it is very likely that a terrorist attack on U.S. soil carried out by foreigners will happen in the next year. A smaller proportion, but a majority nonetheless (58%), foresee a terrorist attack on U.S. soil carried out by Americans.

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The survey gauged awareness about the Hutaree and the Guardians of the Free Republics. About three-in-five Americans (59%) have followed the Hutaree story in the media, and less than half (43%) are aware of the letters sent by the Guardians of the free Republics. Respondents over the age of 55 are more likely to be paying attention to these stories “very closely” or “moderately closely” than younger Americans.

The Hutaree plot — which, according to the United States Attorney’s Office, entailed killing an unidentified member of local law enforcement and then attacking the officers attending the funeral — is regarded as “real and serious” by 61 per cent of Americans.

One third of respondents (37%) believe the Guardians of the Free Republics — who sent letters to all U.S. governors warning them to leave office within three days or be removed — represent a threat to the security of the United States.

Half of respondents (51%) appear to find fault with the modus operandi of both organizations, and describe them as “terrorists,” while only eight per cent regard them as “freedom fighters.”

Methodology

From April 6 to April 7, 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted this online survey among 1,005 American adults who are Springboard America panelists. For the full results, visit http://bit.ly/ctuJaw. The margin of error — which measures sampling variability — is +/- 3.1%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of the United States.  Φ

Angus Reid Public Opinion is a practice of Vision Critical — a global research and technology company specializing in custom online panels, private communities, and innovative online methods. Mario Canseco is their Vice President for Public Affairs. You can contact him at 877.730.3570; mario.canseco@angus-reid.com.  Dr. Angus Reid and the Angus Reid Strategies team are pioneers in online research methodologies, and have been conducting online surveys since 1995.

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