ROCHESTER, N.Y., (PRNewswire) — Approaching the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, a study of U.S. teens (ages 13-18) shows youth believe that America will not succeed in the war on terror or in the war in Iraq. Only 38 percent of teens trust the government in Washington to do what is right in the war on terrorism — half the percentage that agreed with that statement following the 2001 tragedy (76%). Fewer youth currently feel assured that the government can prevent future attacks, and they are not optimistic that the war in Iraq will end any time in the near future.
These are the results of a nationwide Harris Interactive(R) YouthQuery omnibus survey of 1,487 U.S. youth ages 8 to 18, fielded online between August 16 and August 24, 2006. This release only includes findings of a
subgroup of 929 teens ages 13 to 18.
War on Terrorism
Fewer youth today express confidence in American prospects in the war on terrorism. Fifty-eight percent of teens believe that the war on terrorism is a war the U.S. will win, compared with over four in five (82%)
who agreed with that statement in 2001. Similarly, today about half of teens (47%) expect those responsible for the attacks will be caught and punished, down markedly from 79 percent of respondents five years ago. The government’s efforts at home and abroad over the past five years have not increased youth’s sense of security: only 31 percent of teens agree that the U.S. will be able to prevent something like this from happening again, compared with 36 percent shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
War in Iraq
More U.S. teens are uncertain than previously about the war in Iraq. Only four in ten (38%) 13- to 18-year olds think that the U.S. and its allies will win the war — a dramatic decrease from April, 2003 (83%),
shortly after the start of the war in Iraq. Today, 45 percent of teens are unsure if America and its allies will win. In addition, few (7%) youth anticipate that the war will end in the next year. Half of American teens
(52%) expect the war in Iraq to continue for a year or longer while 41 percent are not sure how long it will last.
Youth’s Fears and Perspective on the Future of Terrorism
Terrorism and war have cast a shadow on the outlook of many youth. In the current poll, fielded a week after the London terror plot was revealed, a quarter of all teens (25%) relate that the war on terrorism has made them less optimistic about their future, surpassing the levels in the months following the September 11 attacks (20% in November 2001 and 12% in July 2002). In addition, teens today are slightly more likely to think that
terrorism will strike near them (49%) than they were following the 2001 attacks (42%). Female teens are more likely to fear terrorism than males (57% versus 41%), but at a much smaller margin than five years ago (54% of females versus 28% of males in 2001).