Poll: Americans more likely to avoid crowds due to terrorism fears than after 9/11

Race fans crowd the paddock area at the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville on May 6. A recent Gallup poll indicates the percent of people less willing to attend events with large crowds because of terrorism fears has increased by 11 percent since 2011 and 8 percent since 9/11. File Photo by Mark Abraham/UPI

June 21 (UPI) — More than one-third of U.S. adults are less likely to attend events with big crowds because of the fear of terrorism, according to a Gallup poll.

In the wake of recent terrorist attacks, 38 percent of respondents in the Gallup survey said they are less willing to attend events where there are thousands of people. That is the highest level recorded since Gallup began asking the question after the 9/11 attacks and up from 27 percent — the previous high — when the question was last asked in July 2011.

After 9/11, the percentage was 30 percent.

The survey was conducted June 7-11 after the May 23 terrorist bombing on concertgoers in Manchester, England, and the June 3 attack at a crowded bridge and restaurants in London. Also since the last question in 2011, there was the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

Seven in 10 respondents said they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in authorities to protect them. Gallup released its findings Monday.

“A strong public security presence at large events may serve to calm Americans’ fears of potential attacks at these locations and decrease Americans’ desire to avoid them over time,” said Gallup’s R.J. Reinhart. “However, should additional attacks occur at events in the U.S. or Europe, anxiety may rise and keep Americans away from crowded events.”

Terrorism also makes Americans leery of foreign travel.

A total of 46 percent respondents said they are less willing to travel overseas, including 32 percent less willing to fly and 26 percent less willing to go into skyscrapers. These numbers all have increased from 2011.

Broken down by party affiliation, 57 percent of Republicans said they are less willing to travel overseas because of the threat of terrorism compared with 40 percent of Democrats. Regarding attending events with thousands of people, 48 percent of Republicans are less likely — double from 2011 — and for Democrats it’s 34 percent.

Americans are also worried about a terrorist attack in the United States. Sixty percent of Americans said they believe it is very or somewhat likely one will occur in the United States, which is up from 38 percent in 2011 and 45 percent in 2015.

Gallup interviewed 1,009 adults aged 18 and older living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.


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