Survey Reveals Nuclear Terrorism is America's Top Fear

A nationwide Saga Foundation survey finds Americans' greatest concern is a terrorist attack on U.S. soil with a nuclear device.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Jan. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Saga Foundation today announced the results of a survey which revealed the top fear of Americans is nuclear terrorism. An overwhelming 74 percent of Americans believe that a successful terrorist attack on U.S. soil is likely to happen. Half (49 percent) believe an attack will include some sort of a nuclear device.

Those stark findings were revealed by a nationwide survey and in a series of focus group sessions conducted for the Saga Foundation by Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research. The fear of another "successful terrorist attack" scares more Americans (35 percent) than anything else, including threats of an economic recession, global warming, natural disaster and a disease pandemic. In fact, nearly 50 percent of Americans fear al Qaeda acquiring a nuclear bomb more than they fear states that already have the bomb, including potential rogue nations with nuclear ambitions such as North Korea and Iran .

The survey found that nearly three out of every five Americans are convinced al Qaeda will acquire a nuclear weapon in the next decade. If that is the case, 73 percent say that al Qaeda terrorist cells would target its stated enemy, the United States of America.

Ironically, successful post-9/11 prevention has not increased the nation's comfort level. Of the respondents, 56 percent in the Saga Foundation survey said they believe America is becoming increasingly vulnerable to the next terrorist attack. That concern was echoed by the vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission, former Democratic House member, and Saga Foundation research contributor - Lee Hamilton , who stated: "Keep in mind, that there isn't any doubt here about the intention of the terrorists. They've made it very clear; they want to get hold of a nuclear weapon. So this is not an idle threat, it's a very serious one."

Saga Foundation President, David Bartoshuk, concurs, "The findings are clear. Americans - Republicans and Democrats - agree on at least one thing: terrorists are not going to differentiate between political parties. Both red and blue states are in the terrorists crosshairs. When exploring the possibility of another 9/11 - or perhaps, something much more horrific involving crude nuclear bombs - it is not a question of 'if,' but 'when,' in the mind of a terrorist."

Mr. Bartoshuk said Americans should act on their concerns today: "We need to challenge those charged with our safety and security to take immediate action, both inside and outside Washington D.C. Our future depends on standing up, speaking out and pressuring those responsible to put aside partisan politics and accomplish the job of protecting America. It is time to demand that we close the gap between what needs to be done and what has been done so far to avoid a nuclear 9/11."

The Saga Foundation survey's author and CEO of Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research, Frank Luntz said, "Public concern alone does not translate into meaningful action. Sure, concerned Americans will talk about this threat with their families and friends, but the challenge is creating a message that will encourage them - motivate them - to take those conversations into the broader public sphere."

About the Saga Foundation: The Saga Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness and creating models for action to increase nuclear safety and security. The mission of the foundation is to inform, motivate and engage the world about the catastrophic consequences of unsecured nuclear materials. Saga Foundation explores nonpartisan entrepreneurial based solutions to achieve its goals and accomplish its mission.

SOURCE The Saga Foundation