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84% Think It’s Likely Pakistan Knew Where Osama Was Hiding


What did Pakistan know and when did it know it? Americans overwhelmingly believe top Pakistani officials knew Osama bin Laden's whereabouts and strongly oppose further U.S. aid to the country where the top terrorist was found.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 84% of American Adults think it's at least somewhat likely that high-level officials in the Pakistani government knew where bin Laden was hiding. That includes 57% who say it is Very Likely they knew. Only nine percent (9%) believe it's not likely that Pakistan knew. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

Just 15% of Americans say the United States should continue military and financial aid to Pakistan. Sixty-three percent (63%) say that aid should not continue. Twenty-two percent (22%) are not sure.

Only five percent (5%) of adults now regard the country as an ally of the United States, down from 15% in August of last year. Twenty-six percent (26%) view Pakistan as an enemy, although that's down from 31% in the previous survey. Now the majority (61%) rate it as somewhere in between an ally and an enemy.

These doubts perhaps help to explain why just eight percent (8%) think the United States should have gotten permission from Pakistan before it launched the secret mission against bin Laden within Pakistan's borders. Seventy-two percent (72%) say that permission was not necessary. Twenty percent (20%) aren't sure.

Americans overwhelmingly approve of President Obama's decision to kill bin Laden and don't believe a greater effort should have been made to bring the terrorist mastermind to trial.

A month ago, voter confidence in U.S. efforts in the War on Terror fell to its lowest level in over four years. Now, that confidence has soared following the weekend killing of bin Laden by U.S. Navy SEALs. Voters are also much more confident that the country is safer today than it was before the September 11, 2001 terror attacks that bin Laden orchestrated.

Male voters feel even more strongly than female voters that high-level Pakistani officials knew where bin Laden was living and are also more strongly opposed to giving U.S. aid to Pakistan.

Younger voters are more inclined to view Pakistan as a U.S. enemy than their elders are.

Republicans are more convinced than Democrats and adults not affiliated with either major party that top Pakistanis knew bin Laden's hideout. Thirty-two percent (32%) of Republicans say Pakistan is an enemy of the United States, a view shared by only 22% of Democrats and 24% of unaffiliateds.

Majorities of all three groups, however, oppose further U.S. aid to Pakistan, although again Republicans feel that way more strongly than the others.

Americans remain concerned about the possibility of a terrorist attack in the United States in the near future, but that concern has not increased because of the killing of bin Laden. Most also feel bin Laden's death will not worsen U.S. relations with the Muslim world.

Americans were clearly in a celebratory mood as news of bin Laden's death became public Sunday night, according to Rasmussen Reports Twitter and Facebook traffic. But polling last fall found that only 23% of Americans think capturing or killing bin Laden will make the United States safer

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion polling information.  We poll on a variety of topics in the fields of politics, business and lifestyle, updating our site's content on a news cycle throughout the day, everyday.

Rasmussen Reports Platinum Members get an all-access pass to polling news, analysis and insight not available to the general public.

Scott Rasmussen , president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade. To learn more about our methodology, click here.

The survey of 1,000 Adults were conducted on May 4-5, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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©2011 Rasmussen Reports, LLC

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