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More think Iraq war increased terror threat, view of administration's handling slips

Washington, DC — (AP) - More people now think the war in Iraq has increased the risk of terrorism in the United States than think it has reduced that risk, a major shift on this issue since mid-April, say new polls released almost two years after the Sept. 11 attacks.

In April, almost six in 10 thought the war in Iraq had reduced the risk of terrorism in this country, twice the number who thought it made the risk higher. But in the ABC News poll, about half, 48 percent said the war increased the risk, while 40 percent said it reduced the risk.

A survey by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland also found that by a 2-to-1 margin, more Americans say the U.S. military presence in the Mideast increases the likelihood of terrorist attacks. Three-fourths of those polled said the current foreign policy creates a climate that makes it easier for terrorist to recruit new members and raise money.

Overall, the public's perception of the Bush administration's handling of terrorism is still positive, though it has slipped in the last year.

Just over half, 55 percent, in the ABC poll said the Bush administration is doing a good job dealing with the war on terrorism, while 44 percent said it has not done such a good job. That's down from 73 percent who said a year ago that the Bush administration had done a good job.

President Bush personally scores higher on that measure, with two-thirds saying they approve of the way he has handled the campaign against terror, down from 79 percent in April but still very strong. The president's overall job approval in this poll was 56 percent, about where it's been since midsummer.

The number who say the war was worth fighting has slipped to just over half, 54 percent, down from 70 percent in late April. And people were about evenly split on his handling of the situation in Iraq, down from 56 percent approval in August.

Fears of another terror attack remain high two years after the terror strike, according to several polls taken two years after the attacks.

Almost three-fourths said they think another terrorist attack in this country is likely within the next 12 months, according to a CNN-Time poll. More than half in that poll said their lives have changed since the Sept. 11 attacks and have not yet returned to normal.

The ABC poll of 1,004 adults, the CNN-Time poll of 1,003 adults and the PIPA poll of 1,207 adults have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. All three polls were taken in early September.

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