QUANTICO, Va. – President Bush exhorted Americans on Monday not to lose their nerve in the face of terrorism, even as a poll suggested that last week’s bombings in London rattled U.S. residents.
A USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll taken after explosions rocked the British capital revealed a surge in U.S. anxiety that there will be further acts of terrorism at home.
Taken July 7-10, the poll found 55 percent of Americans believe terrorist acts are very likely or somewhat likely in the next several weeks. That’s a jump from 35 percent in a poll June 16-19.
Speaking to about 800 law enforcement officers, FBI trainees and Marines at the FBI Training Academy about 30 miles south of Washington, Bush continued his defiant response to the bombings, which killed at least 52 people.
“The only way the terrorists can win is if we lose our nerve. This will not happen on my watch,” he said. “America will not retreat in the face of terrorists and murderers, and neither will the free world.”
In London, Prime Minister Tony Blair promised in a speech to the House of Commons a “vigorous and intense” manhunt for those responsible for the attacks.
The White House said Bush’s speech was planned before last week’s bombings, but the attack gave his remarks more significance.
The latest poll suggests the London bombings have done little to raise confidence in Bush’s ability to fight terrorism. Only 34 percent said the United States and its allies are winning the war on terrorism, down from 36 percent in a June survey.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Bush is not doing enough to protect the nation. “We spend more in Iraq in a single month than we spend on first responders all year,” Reid said in a statement.
Bush’s approval rating rose enough that more Americans now approve than disapprove of the job he’s doing – 49 percent to 48 percent – for the first time since late May, according to the poll.
The poll of 1,006 adults has a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.