With the 20th anniversary of 9/11 coming this weekend, it should surprise no one that terrorism remains top of mind for many New Jerseyans.
That’s according to the Monmouth University Poll, which found 18% of New Jersey voters still think about what happened that day on a regular basis.
That was compared with 27% who said they rarely or never think about it. Ten years earlier, 31% regularly thought about 9/11 and 23% did so rarely or never. In 2021, 56% think of 9/11 from time to time, while 46% said the same in 2011.
“The memory may be fading, but not entirely. The 9/11 attacks left an indelible imprint on the Garden State that will never entirely disappear,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in a press statement.
Marking the Day, but Feeling Less Safe
One in five Garden State voters said they planned to do something to mark the 20th anniversary of the attacks. Seven percent will attend a public ceremony while 12% will plan a private observance.
In 2011, 13% planned on a public ceremony and another 13% planned a private observance.
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In general, the poll found the number who think about the attacks on a regular basis had decline among all demographic groups and regions of the state.
In 2011, when asked about the relative safety of New York City, 48% of New Jersey voters said it was safer after 9/11. In 2021, that number had fallen to 37%. Twenty-seven percent of voters said the city was less safe in 2021, compared to only 14% in 2011.
Domestic Terrorism Concerns on the Rise
The poll found a new form of terrorism was dominating New Jersey voters’ minds: domestic terrorism outranked foreign terrorism by a 4-to-1 margin.
Sixty-seven percent of New Jersey voters saw domestic terror groups as a larger threat to the U.S than foreign terrorism (16%). The majority of Democrats (80%), independents (66%) and Republicans (51%) saw domestic terrorism as a relatively greater threat.
“We don’t have trend numbers on this particular question, but it is likely that events of the last few years, including the attack on the U.S. Capitol in January, have focused terrorism concerns on threats emerging from within our borders,” said Murray.
The pollsters note the survey was conducted just before the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, so it was unclear whether the development had a significant impact on public opinion regarding the questions asked on the poll.