On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the American public's confidence in the ability of the U.S government to protect them from terrorism, or respond to disasters or emergencies, has dropped to startling new lows, according to a new study commissioned by the National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and The Children's Health Fund (CHF).
The survey also showed that the majority of the American public lacks confidence in the nation's health care system to be able to respond effectively to biological, chemical or nuclear attacks or a major outbreak of the bird flu.
The survey separately polled Louisiana and Mississippi residents affected by Hurricane Katrina on preparedness issues and found them more ready for another natural disaster than the rest of America. New York residents, a third component of the poll, were found to be less prepared.
The survey was conducted in July and August by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion as a follow-up to polls conducted annually since 2002 to identify trends and public attitudes related to the terrorist attacks of September 11 and disaster preparedness.
PUBLIC CONFIDENCE DROPS IN ALL AREAS
In the national survey, fewer than half just 44 percent said they were confident the government could protect them from a terrorist attack. That figure is a drop from 2005 (49 percent) and significantly less than 2003 (64 percent).
Only about one-third said they believed the government could protect public transportation (36 percent), U.S. shipping ports (36 percent), or U.S. borders (31 percent) from terrorism.
The nation's health care system also got a huge no-confidence vote in the survey. Just over one-in-four of those polled (28 percent) said they felt the health care system was ready to respond to terrorist attacks, be they biological, chemical or nuclear.
Contact: stephanie berger
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health