Poll Examines Personal Impact Of Sept. 11
AUDIE CORNISH, Host:
From NPR News, this is live special coverage of the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. I'm Audie Cornish. A decade later, the event of 9/11 still have a powerful hold on America's collective consciousness. The Pew Research Center, which studies public attitudes and trends, has released new data about the personal impact of September 11th. Andrew Kohut is president of The Pew Research Center and we spoke with him this past week. He says, as one might expect, nearly all of the people they surveyed remember what they were doing and where they were when the attacks occurred.
ANDREW KOHUT: People not only remember where they were, they say the attacks affected them a great deal said 75 percent. And most people say that the country's been changed. However, when you look at some other aspects of public opinion, things are quite different now than they were in the years following 9/11. We don't find primacy of foreign policy when we ask what should the president's highest priority be. Now, it's the economy and domestic issues. We don't see national security as a pressing issue the way it was back then.
CORNISH: According to the survey, you also see significant disagreement about anti-terrorism policies that were put in place after the attacks. And can you describe which areas you found the biggest difference of opinion in the Americans you surveyed?
KOHUT: Most people believe that it's acceptable to have extra airport checks on passengers who appear to be of Middle Eastern decent. However, there's no support or not anywhere near a majority support for government monitoring of credit card purchases or the government monitoring of personal telephone calls. So it's a mix of things.
CORNISH: But there is some agreement among Americans you surveyed that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not necessarily made the country safer, at least as it relates to the possibility of a future attack.
KOHUT: So there's a real division of opinion about the ways in which we've coped with the threat of terrorism since the 9/11 attacks.
CORNISH: And that what we've done has - all the actions we've taken have actually made us any safer.
KOHUT: That's right.
CORNISH: Andrew Kohut is president of The Pew Research Center. Andy, thanks for talking with us.
KOHUT: You're welcome.
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