Over three-quarters of Americans doubt the nation's ability to stop “lone wolf” terrorist attacks by individuals acting on their own, finds a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Despite widespread doubts about security, the poll finds fears of a family member being a victim of terrorism have not risen since a shooting in San Bernardino, Ca., killed 14 and attacks in Paris last month left 130 people dead. Despite President Obama’s call for more gun restrictions aimed at keeping high-powered guns out of terrorist hands, the Post-ABC poll finds record high opposition to a ban on assault weapons.
Americans express far less confidence in U.S. ability to thwart attacks by individuals than foreign terrorist groups. While 43 percent have at least a “good amount” of confidence in the U.S. government's ability to stop a large scale organized attack by a foreign group, only 22 percent say the same about stopping “lone wolf” attacks in which individuals act on their own. Seventy-seven percent express a “fair amount” or no confidence that government can stop such individuals, including one-third who lack any confidence at all. Forty-two percent of adults say they are very or somewhat worried about themselves or a family member becoming will be a victim of terrorism, down from 49 percent in a June Gallup poll asking the same question, which was the highest level of worry in the firm's surveys since 2001. The current level of concern fits in the middle of the range seen over the past decade.