1Friday, May 06, 2011
What did Pakistan know and when did it know it? Americans overwhelmingly
believe top Pakistani officials knew Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts and
strongly oppose further U.S. aid to the country where the top terrorist was
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 84% of American
Adults think it’s at least somewhat likely that high-level officials in
the Pakistani government knew where bin Laden was hiding. That includes 57%
who say it is Very Likely they knew. Only nine percent (9%) believe it’s
not likely that Pakistan knew. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Just 15% of Americans say the United States should continue military and
financial aid to Pakistan. Sixty-three percent (63%) say that aid should not
continue. Twenty-two percent (22%) are not sure.
Only five percent (5%) of adults now regard the country as an ally of the
United States, down from 15% in August of last year. Twenty-six percent (26%
) view Pakistan as an enemy, although that’s down from 31% in the previous
survey. Now the majority (61%) rate it as somewhere in between an ally and
These doubts perhaps help to explain why just eight percent (8%) think the
United States should have gotten permission from Pakistan before it launched
the secret mission against bin Laden within Pakistan’s borders. Seventy-
two percent (72%) say that permission was not necessary. Twenty percent (20%
) aren’t sure.
Americans overwhelmingly approve of President Obama’s decision to kill bin
Laden and don’t believe a greater effort should have been made to bring the
terrorist mastermind to trial.
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The survey of 1,000 Adults were conducted on May 4-5, 2011 by Rasmussen
Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95%
level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is
conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
A month ago, voter confidence in U.S. efforts in the War on Terror fell to
its lowest level in over four years. Now, that confidence has soared
following the weekend killing of bin Laden by U.S. Navy SEALs. Voters are
also much more confident that the country is safer today than it was before
the September 11, 2001 terror attacks that bin Laden orchestrated.
Male voters feel even more strongly than female voters that high-level
Pakistani officials knew where bin Laden was living and are also more
strongly opposed to giving U.S. aid to Pakistan.
Younger voters are more inclined to view Pakistan as a U.S. enemy than their
Republicans are more convinced than Democrats and adults not affiliated with
either major party that top Pakistanis knew bin Laden’s hideout. Thirty-
two percent (32%) of Republicans say Pakistan is an enemy of the United
States, a view shared by only 22% of Democrats and 24% of unaffiliateds.
Majorities of all three groups, however, oppose further U.S. aid to Pakistan
, although again Republicans feel that way more strongly than the others.
Americans remain concerned about the possibility of a terrorist attack in
the United States in the near future, but that concern has not increased
because of the killing of bin Laden. Most also feel bin Laden’s death will
not worsen U.S. relations with the Muslim world.
Americans were clearly in a celebratory mood as news of bin Laden’s death
became public Sunday night, according to Rasmussen Reports Twitter and
Facebook traffic. But polling last fall found that only 23% of Americans
think capturing or killing bin Laden will make the United States safer.