- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 28, 2002

Is September 11 vanishing from the national consciousness? A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Friday finds the attacks have less effect 10 months later perhaps a sign that Americans are moving on with their lives.
"Fifty-two percent say that, while not forgotten, the effects of 9/11 'are fading away,' and not something they think and worry about regularly," the poll stated.
In contrast, 43 percent said the effects "are still fresh, and something they think and worry about regularly."
Gauging the emotional toll of the attacks has been a regular task among pollsters.
Over the months, Pew Research found that 71 percent of Americans were "depressed" about terrorism, while Gallup revealed that 80 percent had become "more loving" to family members. A Harris poll found that 82 percent were more "spiritual."
One workplace poll even found that 65 percent of the respondents had become "more caring" toward fellow employees.
Still, Americans have not been exposed to as many media-based emotional triggers. The national preoccupation with terrorism "waxes and wanes as to how much it is in the news," noted Gallup editor in chief Frank Newport in a report released in mid-July.
Indeed, visceral images of the attacks have been few and far between in print and broadcast lately, though that will change as the first anniversary approaches. News organizations of every persuasion are planning unprecedented commemorative coverage.
Though the emotional links to the attacks may have lessened, Americans still support the evolving war on terrorism, according to the new NBC poll.
More than half 56 percent said a new Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security will make "a real difference" in preventing attacks. Almost three-quarters said they approved of President Bush's efforts to defend the country from terrorism, though 47 percent believe Osama bin Laden will never be killed or captured.
Meanwhile, 67 percent approved of Mr. Bush's overall job performance, and 82 percent said they had a "great deal" or "quite a bit" of confidence in the American military.
In the grim laundry list of national concerns, 33 percent still believed that "fighting terrorism" should be the top priority for both White House and Congress, just topping "strengthening the economy," cited by 32 percent.
Still, 51 percent said their greatest personal concern was keeping the nation "safe from terrorism," followed by "kidnapping of children," cited by 46 percent; corruption in financial institutions (31 percent) and the falling stock market (28 percent).
One percent said they fretted about a national baseball strike.
Recent polls don't always agree, however.
"National fears of another terrorist attack are at their highest point since last October," noted a CBS poll released June 21, with 81 percent saying another attack was either "very" or "somewhat" likely.

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