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ABC News/Washington Post Anthrax Poll #2, October 2001

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • ABC News
  • The Washington Post
Other Title
  • Version 1 (Subtitle)
Collective Title
  • ABC News/Washington Post Poll Series
Publication Date
Free Keywords
anthrax; attitudes; biological weapons; chemical weapons; fear; government performance; media coverage; national security; personal security; public opinion; terrorism; terrorist attacks; threats
  • Abstract

    This special topic poll, conducted October 24, 2001, was undertaken to assess respondents' reactions to and feelings about the recent anthrax attacks involving letters contaminated with anthrax bacteria being distributed through the mail. Respondents were asked to describe their reaction to the anthrax threat, and their concern that a close relative, friend, or they themselves would contract anthrax. Those queried were asked if they thought that the mail they received at home was safe, if they were satisfied with the way the government was handling the anthrax situation, whether the anthrax situation was an isolated incident or the first of a continuing series of cases, how confident they were in the government's ability to respond to a large-scale biological or chemical attack on the United States, whether the government was as prepared as it reasonably could have been to deal with a biological attack like the anthrax situation, and if the United States was doing all that it reasonably could to prevent further biological attacks. In addition, respondents were asked if they approved of the way the Office of Homeland Security was handling its job, and whether the news media was exaggerating the danger in the anthrax situation. Respondents were asked if, since September 11th, anyone in their household had bought a supply of antibiotics in case of biological attack, spoken with a doctor about anthrax or some other biological attack, started to exercise caution in opening mail, gathered information about what to do in case of an anthrax or other biological attack, started avoiding crowded places such as shopping malls because of the chance of terrorism, or tried to reduce the amount of mail they handled by asking people to send e-mail instead. With respect to exercising caution with the mail, respondents were asked whether someone in their household was currently looking over mail more carefully than usual, throwing away unfamiliar mail without opening it, wearing gloves or a mask when handling mail, washing their hands after handling the mail, or doing anything else with the mail to take precautions. Background information on respondents includes gender and political party.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: Dataset
Temporal Coverage
  • Time period: 2001-10
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Collection Mode
  • The data are provided as an SPSS portable file.

    This collection has not been processed by ICPSR staff. ICPSR is distributing the data and documentation for this collection in essentially the same form in which they were received. When appropriate, documentation has been converted to Portable Document Format (PDF), data files have been converted to non-platform-specific formats, and variables have been recoded to ensure respondents' anonymity.

    Produced by Taylor Nelson Sofres Intersearch, Horsham, PA, 2001.

This study is freely available to ICPSR member institutions via web download.
Alternative Identifiers
  • 3320 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Salvatore, Christopher, Gorman, Brian John. Gender-based perceptions of the 2001 anthrax attacks: Implications for outreach and preparedness. Security Journal.2012.
    • ID: 10.1057/sj.2012.36 (DOI)

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

ABC News; The Washington Post (2002): ABC News/Washington Post Anthrax Poll #2, October 2001. Version 1. ABC News/Washington Post Poll Series. Version: v1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.