Half of the Americans feel that a terrorist attack in the United States could be imminent, a latest Gallup poll has said in the immediate aftermath of the Boston bombings that killed three people and injured more than 200 others.
In its latest poll, Gallup said 51 per cent of those surveyed believed that there is more likelihood of a terrorist attack.
"This is significantly higher than the 38 per cent anticipating a terrorist attack when Gallup last measured this in August 2011 during the relatively quiet news environment leading up to the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks," it said.
The current reading likely reflects public anxiety stemming from the Boston Marathon bombings, as well as possibly the news about ricin-laced letters to the president and lawmakers that were intercepted last week in Washington, DC, Gallup said.
More specifically, 12 per cent of Americans think, according to a Gallup survey conducted on April 24-25, it is very likely that a terrorist attack will occur in the next several weeks, and 39 per cent call this somewhat likely.
Another 34 per cent consider it not too likely, while 12 per cent say it is not at all likely, the polling agency said.
Despite Americans' elevated concern that a terrorist event could soon occur, the percentage worried that they or a family member could be a terrorism victim is up only slightly, to 40 per cent from 36 per cent in August 2011, Gallup said.
However, that is in line with the 36 per cent to 42 per cent range Gallup has recorded on this measure since 2008, and well below the heights of concern recorded in the immediate post-9/11 and Iraq war period, it said.
Gallup said the same poll shows 70 per cent of Americans feeling confident of the federal government to protect its citizens from future acts of terrorism, including 19 per cent who have a great deal of confidence in it and 51 per cent a fair amount.
About three in 10 have low confidence, including 21 per cent who say "not very much," and eight per cent who say "none at all," it said.
"While high in absolute terms, the 70 per cent who are generally confident in the US government on terrorism is slightly lower than the 75 per cent found in 2011, although not significantly different from the 73 per cent measured in 2006, when George W Bush was president," Gallup said.