War on Terror not Over, Poll Finds

From Rasmussen:  Only 11% Think War on Terror Is Over

Voters overwhelmingly reject the idea that the war on terror is over one year after the death of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, although most feel his al Qaeda terrorist group is weaker today. But a majority also still thinks a terrorist attack is possible in the next year.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 11% of Likely U.S. Voters think the war on terror is over. Seventy-nine percent (79%) say that war, declared after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America, is not over. Another 11% are undecided.

I was unaware that there had been a declaration that the “war on terror” was over (although, granted, this administration has stopped using the term).  At a minimum, the presence of troops in Afghanistan and the ongoing drone attacks would seem to underscore, for good or ill, that the conflict in questions continues unabated.

Fundamentally this is a silly question because the only way the “war on terror” can be declared over is if terrorism is indeed gone forever (which underscores the problem with the formulation in the first place).

Of course, this is really all about the current brouhaha over Osama bin Laden’s death and the desire for the Romney camp to downplay the event and the desire for the Obama camp to remind everyone that of it.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Terrorism, US Politics, , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Hey Norm says:

    War on Terror…
    Just one more item on the list of stupid sh** Bush gave us.

  2. PJ says:

    Beyond this being a silly question, I’d love to hear Rasmussen’s explanation why this is a question that, in their view, should only be asked to likely voters.

  3. Ian says:

    That’s the thing about Rasmussen. It’s less about the numbers than the narrative they’re trying to push. Obama brags about getting Bin Laden, so Rasmussen pushes a poll about how it doesn’t really matter since the war on terror isn’t over (and never will be). It’s about downplaying the foreign policy success of the Democratic President, as Democratic President’s can’t have foreign policy successes. Just not allowed.

    Just curious, does anyone here deny that a Republican President would have acted any differently? I remember the Bush Admin celebrating like they scored the winning touchdown in the Superbowl, no matter how small the success. Remember those Kung Fu Rastafarians in Miami who wanted to take down the Sears Tower?

  4. Franklin says:

    Well Americans have surrendered all their rights, so I guess the War on Terror is indeed over and we lost! (Same with the War on Drugs.)

  5. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Even out there in Zombieland the vast majority do know the differences between shit and Shinola. Ergo those poll results are not at all surprising.

  6. al-Ameda says:

    That poll result comes as no surprise.

    Every time we go to an airport to travel – and we stand in a long queue, take off our shoes, our belt, our wrist watch, empty our pockets, and walk though a security scanner – we are reminded of the War on Terror.

    It going to be like the Cold War, or our military presence in South Korea – forever.

  7. Hey Norm says:

    “…Americans have surrendered all their rights…”

    Really? I must have missed the memo.

  8. Ben says:

    The Republicans have their wish. Not only have people accepted the idiotic idea of a “War on Terror”, which is just another way of excusing the idea of a perpetual state of war, but they will now go on to insist on it’s necessity forever. The results of this poll will never say anything different, because it will always be the case that people “think a terrorist attack is possible in the next year.”