Party lines split U.S. on terror threat 15 years after 9/11: poll

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

WASHINGTON, Sept 7 (Reuters) - With the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks nearing, Americans are sharply divided on party lines over the threat of a major terrorist attack on the United States, according to a poll released on Wednesday.

Forty percent of Americans say the ability of terrorists to strike the United States is greater than it was at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, according to the Pew Research Center survey of 1,201 adults.

That share is up 6 percentage points since November 2013 and marks the highest percentage with that view over the past 14 years. Thirty-one percent of respondents say terrorists' abilities to attack are the same, and a quarter say it is less.

RELATED: Learn more about the al-Nusra terror group

9 PHOTOS
Jabhat al-Nusra, Islamist terrorist group
See Gallery
Jabhat al-Nusra, Islamist terrorist group
ALEPPO, SY - FEBRUARY 13: Yahea Ateq, a fighter in the Islamist Jabhat al-Nusra faction, was a stone mason before joining the civil war and returned to the fight just days after suffering three bullet wounds that stopped just short of his heart. (Paul Watson/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
A wall in the Syrian city of Raqqa reads: 'Stay away, this property belongs to Muslims. (Signed) Jabhat al Nusra.' Jabhat al Nusra, a group calling for the establishment of an Islamic state in Syria, has recently clashed with rebel groups that espouse a more moderate interpretation of Islam. (David Enders/MCT via Getty Images)
Jabhat al Nusra, a radical Islamist group linked to Al Qaida, controls the gas production plant and other key components in the economy of Ash Shaddadi, eastern Syria, rendering -- it in the eyes of the United States and its Mideast allies -- a potentially a self-sustaining self-declared terror entity. (Andree Kaiser/MCT via Getty Images)
Jabhat al Nusra, a radical Islamist group linked to Al Qaida, controls the gas production plant and other key components in the economy of Ash Shaddadi, eastern Syria, rendering -- it in the eyes of the United States and its Mideast allies -- a potentially a self-sustaining self-declared terror entity. (Andree Kaiser/MCT via Getty Images)
Syrian Kurds mourn over a picture of a relative as his body is transported from a hospital before the burial on August 27, 2013 of three Kurdish militia fighters from the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) who were reportedly killed in an attack on their checkpoint by militants from the radical Islamist group Jabhat Al-Nusra in the Kurdish town of Derik, known in Arabic as al-Malikiyah, in Syria's northeastern Hasakeh governorate, on the border with Turkey and Iraq. A new wave of Syrians began pouring into northern Iraq in mid-August, seeking refuge from fighting between Kurdish forces and Islamist rebels, as well as from an economy in tatters. Syria's Kurds, who number over two million and are concentrated in the north and northeast of the country. AFP PHOTO/BENJAMIN HILLER (Photo credit should read BENJAMIN HILLER/AFP/Getty Images)
Jabhat al Nusra, a radical Islamist group linked to Al Qaida, controls the gas production plant and other key components in the economy of Ash Shaddadi, eastern Syria, rendering -- it in the eyes of the United States and its Mideast allies -- a potentially a self-sustaining self-declared terror entity. (Andree Kaiser/MCT via Getty Images)
Jabhat al Nusra, a radical Islamist group linked to Al Qaida, controls the gas production plant and other key components in the economy of Ash Shaddadi, eastern Syria, rendering -- it in the eyes of the United States and its Mideast allies -- a potentially a self-sustaining self-declared terror entity. (Andree Kaiser/MCT via Getty Images)
Jabhat al Nusra, a radical Islamist group linked to Al Qaida, controls the gas production plant and other key components in the economy of Ash Shaddadi, eastern Syria, rendering -- it in the eyes of the United States and its Mideast allies -- a potentially a self-sustaining self-declared terror entity. (Andree Kaiser/MCT via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"The growth in the belief that terrorists are now better able to launch a major strike on the U.S. has come almost entirely among Republicans," the Pew Research Center said.

Fifty-eight percent of Republicans say terrorists' ability to hit the United States in a major attack is greater than at the time of 9/11, up 18 points since 2013, it said.

SEE ALSO: Source: US House to vote on bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudis​​​

The poll results marked the first time that a majority in either political party had expressed that opinion, the Pew center said.

About a third of independents, or 34 percent, and 31 percent of Democrats say terrorists are better able to strike the United States than they were then. Those views are up 2 percentage points each from three years ago, according to the survey.

The partisan divide is in line with other opinion sampling on the U.S. government's ability to deal with terrorism, Pew said.

In an April Pew poll, three-quarters of Democrats said the government was doing very or fairly well in reducing the threat from terrorism, while 29 percent of Republicans said the same.

The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks are a powerful memory for many Americans. Almost 3,000 people died when hijackers slammed airliners into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field

Ninety-one percent of the adults surveyed remember exactly where they were or what they were doing when they heard news about the attacks. Among those under 30, 83 percent said the same.

The Pew survey was conducted by telephone from Aug. 23 to Sept. 2. The margin of error is 3.2 percentage points, meaning results could vary that much either way.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

Rescuer Sees Bumps All Over This Dog's Skin - Then X-Rays Reveal The Tragic Story Rescuer Sees Bumps All Over This Dog's Skin - Then X-Rays Reveal The Tragic Story
Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going
20 Folks Recall Shocking Interview Moments That Made Them NOT Want the Job 20 Folks Recall Shocking Interview Moments That Made Them NOT Want the Job