UNH Survey Center

Justiceworks at UNH


UNH Poll Finds Granite State Still Concerned about Terrorism Six Months after 9/11

By Erika Mantz
UNH News Bureau

March 11, 2002

EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: Andrew Smith, director of the UNH Survey Center, is available for interviews today after 2 p.m. at (603) 862-2226, Ted Kirkpatrick, director of Justiceworks, at (603) 862-1957.

DURHAM, N.H. Six months after the Sept. 11 attacks, New Hampshire residents are still concerned about terrorism and still support the U.S. war on terrorism, but have gotten past being concerned about anthrax, according to the latest Granite State Poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

The Granite State Poll is sponsored by UNH. Five hundred forty (540) adults were interviewed between Jan. 25 and Feb. 5. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/-4.2 percent. For more detailed results and charts, visit the Survey Center Web site at www.unh.edu/survey-center and click on Press Releases.

The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11 may not have affected people in New Hampshire as directly as they did citizens of New York and Washington, but the impact was certainly felt in the Granite State. Even though six months have passed, the fear of a terrorist attack is still high among residents of New Hampshire. In the most recent Granite State Poll, six percent of New Hampshire residents say they are "very worried" that someone in their family will be a victim of terrorism, 37 are "somewhat worried," 37 percent are "not too worried," and 19 percent are "not worried at all." Despite the passage of six months, there has been little change in this indicator. In the October 2001 Granite State Poll, 10 percent said they were "very worried" that someone in their family would be a victim of terrorism, 34 percent were "somewhat worried," 35 percent were "not too worried" and 21 percent were "not worried at all."

New Hampshire residents strongly approve of the U.S. response to the attacks on Sept. 11. In the most recent Granite State Poll, 79 percent of New Hampshire adults say they "strongly approve" of the U.S. military response to the terrorist attacks, 12 percent "approve somewhat," 2 percent are neutral, 4 percent "disapprove somewhat," 4 percent "strongly disapprove" and 1 percent say they don't know. Support for the U.S. war in Afghanistan has actually increased since the October 2001 Granite State Poll when 72 percent said they "strongly approved" of U.S. action, 18 percent "approved somewhat," 2 percent were neutral, 3 percent "disapproved somewhat," and 4 percent "strongly disapproved."

One area where public opinion has changed dramatically is the fear of anthrax attacks through the mail. In October 2001, 17 percent of New Hampshire adults said they worried a "great deal" about anthrax letters, 41 percent said they were "somewhat worried," 27 percent said they worried "not too much" and 15 percent said they worried "not at all." In the most recent Granite State Poll, fear of getting anthrax through the mail has significantly declined such that only 9 percent of New Hampshire adults say they worry a "great deal," 33 percent say they worry "somewhat," 34 percent say they worry "not too much," and 24 percent say they do "not worry at all."

"While it's clear from this survey that New Hampshire citizens are still greatly concerned about the threat of terror, and that a wide majority support the continuing war on terrorism, the anthrax scare is dissipating," says Ted Kirkpatrick, director of Justiceworks at UNH. "Many epidemics of this type have a fleeting character. Often they disappear as quickly as they arise."


There are few differences among New Hampshire residents in their fear of a terrorist attack. Fear of having a family member fall victim to terrorism is strongest among people who have recently moved to New Hampshire.

While large majorities of all groups of New Hampshire residents approve of the U.S. war on terrorism, Republicans, conservatives, residents of northern New Hampshire and residents of Hillsborough County are the strongest supporters of U.S. action. Liberals, people with post-graduate educations, and residents of western New Hampshire are most likely to oppose the U.S. war on terrorism.

Liberals and people under 30 years old are most likely to be worried about getting anthrax through the mail. Men, people with higher levels of income, and people with higher levels of education are least concerned about getting anthrax through the mail.


These findings are based on the most recent Granite State Poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center from Jan. 25 to Feb. 5, 2002. A random sample of 540 New Hampshire adults was interviewed by telephone. In 95 of 100 cases, the statewide estimates will be accurate to plus or minus 4.2 percent. Results reported for other subgroups have potential for somewhat larger variation than those for the entire population.
The data have been weighted to adjust for numbers of adults and telephone lines within households, respondent sex, and for region of the state. In addition to potential sampling error, all surveys have other potential sources of non-sampling error including question order effects, question wording effects, and non-response.
Respondents to the Granite State Poll were asked:
"I'd like to ask you a few questions about the events that occurred on September 11th in New York City and Washington, D.C. How worried are you that you or someone in your family will become a victim of a terrorist attack: very worried ... somewhat worried ... not too worried ... or not worried at all?"
"Do you approve or disapprove of the current U.S. military action against terrorism?" IF APPROVE: "Would you say you strongly approve or just somewhat?" IF DISAPPROVE: "Would you say you strongly disapprove or just somewhat?"
"There's been news lately about letters contaminated with the anthrax bacteria being distributed by mail. Is this situation something that worries you a great deal ... somewhat ... not too much or not at all?"

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