The worst terrorist attack inside the United States resulted in little sustained change, despite the claims of politicians, pundits and preachers.
Americans did not become more religious, buy more guns or remain more fearful. “Only 18% say that their lives have changed permanently as a result of the attack,” according to Gallup News Service.
Sixty-nine percent of Americans said they were “very satisfied” with their family life and community in June 2001 and 2002 polls.
“Short-term changes occurred in the United States after Sept. 11,” Gallup reported. “But evidence of major lasting effects is scarce.”
Gallup “found no evidence that Americans were flocking to church in any greater numbers,” contrary to the predictions of fundamentalist Christian leaders who said the nation would experience a great spiritual awakening.
“To the extent that Americans became more religious after Sept. 11, the available evidence suggests it involved small numbers of Americans and was short-lived,” Gallup said.
While polling data showed a slight increase in the number of Americans who said religion was “very important in their lives,” the most recent figures disclosed a return “to normal rates of religious observance.”
One area of change concerned airline travel. “A third of Americans still report being more reluctant to fly,” Gallup said.
The most meaningful change related to immigration. Before the terrorist attacks, Americans had a positive view of immigration.
“Immediately after Sept. 11, Americans reversed their position, with a majority saying immigration should be decreased,” Gallup said. “That continues to be the prevailing view today.”
Gallup found that “four in 10 Americans now consider current immigration a bad thing for the country, up from 31% last year.”
Forty-four percent of Americans express “less trust in Arabs living in the United States today than they did before the terrorist attacks.”
Gallup compiled the results from polls taken in 2001 and 2002.