Twenty years ago this week, the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place, shaking the region, the nation and the entire world. While terrorism remains a concern, the scope of that concern has changed, according to a Monmouth University Poll released on Tuesday.

By a more than 4 to 1 margin, New Jersey voters see domestic terrorism as a greater threat than foreign terrorism, according to the survey.

“Sixty-seven percent say that violence from domestic terror groups is a bigger problem right now – a bigger threat for the country than violence from foreign terror groups, which only 16 percent say is the bigger problem,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Murray said after the terror attacks people were mostly concerned about Al Qaeda, but that’s no longer the case.

The poll finds that Republicans, Democrats and independents all feel that domestic terrorism is more of a threat than foreign terrorism, with Democrats leading the pack at 80 percent.

Safety remains a mixed bag

When it comes to feeling safe from terrorism, the poll reveals New Jerseyans are rather divided on the issue.

While 38 percent of New Jersey voters feel the country is more safe from terrorism now than it was before 9/11, 28 percent think it's less safe, according to Murray. Ten years ago, Murray said 45 percent of those polled indicated the country was more safe.

As for New York City, the place where 2,763 people lost their lives during the attacks, Murray said 37 percent think the city is more safe from terrorism now than it was before the attacks, while 27 percent think it's less safe.

9/11 memories live on

Thanks in part to the state's proximity to New York City, not to mention the number of New Jersey lives lost during the attacks, memories of the events have not faded for a significant number of Garden State residents.

Murray said 18 percent of those polled indicate they still think about 9/11 on a regular basis, while 56 percent of Garden State residents think about 9/11 from time to time.

“That means that the vast majority of New Jerseyans still have that kind of burned into their memory,” Murray said. “There’s still a significant chunk of New Jerseyans who say that these thoughts come to them pretty much on a regular basis.”

Murray said the survey also finds 14 percent of New Jersey voters believe the government has done enough to meet the health care needs of 9/11 responders, while 49 percent said not enough has been done, and 37 percent have no opinion.

Commemorating 9/11

The poll also finds one in five Garden State voters are planning to do something to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

About 7 percent plan on attending a public ceremony, while 12 percent say they will mark the occasion with a private observance.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from August 11 to 16, 2021 with 810 New Jersey registered voters. The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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