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Duh: 79% of Americans Fear Another Terrorist Attack

12.29.09

And this is newsworthy?

I’m sorry, but why should I are what 79% of respondents in some telephone poll think?  What makes their opinions worthy of my time or energy or anything whatsoever?  On what information are they basing this belief that there will be another terrorist attack on America in the next year?

Oh right.  We just had an attempted bombing of a plane over Detroit on Christmas Day.  Well, it sure doesn’t take a psychic to come up with that notion then, does it?  Kind of like if you’re having your palms read, you sneeze, and the reader says “You have been sick lately… some kind of… head cold” as if that’s some sort of brilliant vision, some kind of otherworldly intelligence.

More of the completely obvious:

Men feel more strongly than women that another terrorist attack is likely in the next year. Older voters are more concerned than those who are younger.

Republicans are more worried about another terrorist attack in the near future than are Democrats and voters not affiliated with either party. The Political Class is much less fearful than Mainstream voters.

Shocking.  Really enlightening stuff here.

I understand why so many people would assume that another attack is likely in the next year.  Given last week’s near-miss and the Fort Hood massacre, the odds are clearly in favor of something happening in the next twelve months.  During that same time span, I’ll go out on a limb and place some bets that there will likely be a hurricane that hits the southeast, an earthquake somewhere in the Pacific, and a group of co-workers will win several hundred million dollars in the Powerball lottery.

Some people are obsessed with polls.  Me?  Not so much.  I don’t really see much value in what a random assortment of people necessarily think about a given topic on which they most likely aren’t even remotely qualified to opine. 

I’m pretty sure that when a few months go by and there are no attacks, Rasmussen will test the waters once again and reveal that the percentage has dropped.  The poll is meaningless.  The only thing that it tells us is that it’s part of the human condition to react passionately immediately following a traumatic event and then have the fear/pain/worry subside as time passes. 

But, did we really need another poll to tell us that?

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2 comments

  1. The article is a bit misleading, as well. When you make a statement like “79% Say Another Terror Attack Likely Within Year”, you aren’t actually saying anything. In all honesty, I am surprised that the figure isn’t 100%. Since ‘likely’ simply implies that they acknowledge the possibility, this implies that 21% of Americans are sure of the fact that the USA will not experience a terrorist attack in the next year.

    Another important piece of information to keep in mind … At least 50% of the American population (or you can argue world population) are completely ignorant of what is going on. You could say that they are stupid, but it is easier to argue that these people could care less about what is going on and live in their own world of ignorance. Hence, when people like this are asked their opinions on world events, or events to come, the opinion stated is completely meaningless because it is based on virtually nothing concrete. So, in a sense, Polls are meaningless unless directed towards a specific subset of the population familiar with what they are being polled on.


    • Agreed.

      I don’t mind polls necessarily. Only when they are given more weight than they deserve. And when they are used as evidence of anything more than some random people’s, mostly-uninformed opinions.



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