West Long Branch, NJ - The Department of Homeland Security recently revealed that U.S. government computers suffered a cyber attack this spring that accessed the personnel records of federal employees. A national Monmouth University Poll finds that most Americans feel Washington is not doing enough to protect these systems and are worried that these attacks could have serious consequences.
Nearly 2-in-3 (64%) Americans say that Washington is not doing enough to protect government computer systems from another attack, while just 21% say it is. Most Americans are aware of this incident - 38% have heard a lot and 44% have heard a little.
About 2-in-3 Americans are at least somewhat worried that an attack on government computers could lead to serious consequences. Specifically, 32% are very worried and 40% are somewhat worried that a cyber attack on U.S. government computers could significantly damage our national security and defense systems. Just 27% are not worried. The poll also finds that 36% of Americans are very worried and 34% are somewhat worried that a cyber attack on U.S. government computers could negatively impact them personally, such as tampering with their social security or tax records. Just 29% are not worried about this affecting them.
Fully 7-in-10 Americans feel that the federal government can protect its systems from cyber attacks, although only 27% say it is very likely that the government can do this while 43% say it is somewhat likely. About 1-in-4 say it is either not too (15%) or not at all (11%) likely that Washington can do anything to protect its computer systems from these attacks.
"We have entered a new era in global combat and the American public is unsure what the consequences will be," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.
Pres. Obama's job rating with the American public currently stands at 44% approve to 46% disapprove in the Monmouth University Poll . This is a slight improvement from the 42% approve to 48% disapprove rating he held in April. Congress continues to earn a negative 19% approve to 71% disapprove job rating. Currently, just 23% of Americans feel the country is heading in the right direction while 68% say it is on the wrong track, which is similar to the public mood two months ago.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from June 11 to 14, 2015 with 1,002 adults in the United States. This sample has a margin of error of ± 3.1 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.
The questions referred to in this release are as follows:
1. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as president?
2. Do you approve or disapprove of the job the U.S. Congress is doing?
3. Would you say things in the country are going in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track?
4. As you may know, cyber attacks are used to disrupt computer systems or steal information. How much have you read or heard about the cyber attack on government computers earlier this spring – a lot, a little, or not at all?
5. Overall, do you think the U.S. government is doing enough or not doing enough to protect the government’s computer systems from another cyber attack?
6. Given the nature of these attacks, how likely is it that the government can really do anything to protect its systems against cyber attacks – very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not at all likely?
7. How worried are you that a cyber attack on U.S. government computers could be able to significantly damage our national security and defense systems – very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not at all worried?
8. How worried are you that a cyber attack on U.S. government computers could have a negative impact on you, such as tampering with your social security or tax records – very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not at all worried?
The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from June 11 to 14, 2015 with a national random sample of 1,002 adults age 18 and older. This includes 700 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 302 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information. Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and SSI (RDD sample). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.
Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.
Download this Poll Report with all tables