Research Study: Americans Think that No One is Winning the War on Terrorism

Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army fighter holds a weapon in the town of Tadef in Aleppo Governorate, Syria February 12, 2018. Picture taken February 12, 2018. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RC1CE995F0A0

In a new study released by the Gallup news service on June 22nd, it was determined that less than 30% of Americans believe the U.S. is winning the war against terrorism. In the same context, Americans also do not believe that the terrorists are winning the war either.

The study was conducted between June 11th and 14th, 2007 via telephone interviews and included 1,007 adults, aged 18 and older nationwide.

The specific results obtained by Gallup showed that only 29% of respondents believed that the United States is winning the war on terrorism. The analysis performed by Joseph Carrol, underscored that this is the lowest percentage reported since the events of 9/11. Twenty percent said that the terrorists are winning with 50% explicitly conveying the neither side is currently victorious. The analysts emphasized that this is the first time that at least half of Americans believe that the war on terrorism is a deadlock. In May of 2003, only 28% of Americans said that neither side was winning.

The survey also included a question asking the participants if they considered the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq to be “part of the war on terrorism” or “an entire separate military action”. Sixty-five percent of respondents indicated that they believed the war in Afghanistan was part of the war on terrorism with 32% saying that they considered it a separate action. With respect to Iraq, 43% percent of respondents said that they considered this intervention part of the war on terrorism. Over half of the participants (53%) said that the war in Iraq was a separate military action. Previously, from September of 2002 through October of 2004, at least half of Americans said that Iraq was part of the effort against terrorism. Since the Summer of 2005, not including the survey data obtained shortly after the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 events when Americans were found to be divided, at least half of Americans believe that Iraq is not part of the war on terror.

When asked about the concerns of being a victim of a terrorist act, 44% of survey participants said that they were either “very” or “somewhat” worried of succumbing to the actions of terrorists. Previously, this concern had been the highest (59%) in the weeks following the attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon.

Gallup also asked survey participants about the probability of a terrorist incident occurring in the U.S. during the coming weeks. Forty percent of Americans said that the likelihood of this was “somewhat” or “very likely” to occur, a 10% decrease from August of 2006.

When assessing the data by party affiliation, the Gallup analysts observed a remarkable contrast. With respect to assessing the war on terrorism, 53% of Republicans indicated that they believed the U.S. was winning with 26% percent of Independents and 12% of Democrats asserting this belief.

A higher percentage of Republicans (81%) believe that the war in Afghanistan is part of the war on terrorism as opposed to 58% of Independents and 59% of Democrats with this perception.

The largest disparity occurred with respect to Iraq. Almost three-quarters of Republicans (73%) say that Iraq is part of the war on terrorism. Only 29% of Democrats believe that Iraq is part of the war on terror with Independents following along the same lines.


The margin of sampling error for this survey is ± 3 percentage points.

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