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It's the economy

— The new NBC/Journal poll shows that 48% remain quite concerned that the US economy will decline if there's another attack, making it the top concern of those listed. "Knowing how important the economy is to voters this cycle, it's no surprise that [this] tops the list of items voters say they are extremely or very concerned about," says NBC/Journal pollster Bill McInturff (R).

The Financial Times reports, "Concerns about Wall Street's ability to withstand a terrorist attack, natural disaster or flu pandemic have prompted Hank Paulson, the new US Treasury secretary, to review the financial market's disaster-planning."

A Saturday Wall Street Journal look at the US economy post-September 11 found that in general, the economy has grown and "become more efficient" in the past five years.

Bloomberg columnist Kevin Hassett of conservative think-tank AEI finds that the attacks changed the US economy "in two distinct ways. First, there was significant and immediate damage back in 2001... In retrospect, it seems clear that the U.S. wouldn't have had an official recession that year," otherwise. "Just as significant has been the intangible damage to the economy" because of a resulting "increased risk aversion" which "has driven up the prices of assets that are perceived to be safe and depressed those of assets that may be more exposed to a sharp decline if another terrorist attack occurs."

The Washington Times says some recent polling shows "that the No. 1 issue heading into the election season is not the war in Iraq or the terrorist threat, but the performance of the U.S. economy, which has gotten poor marks from voters despite steady growth and lower unemployment. But pollsters conducting election surveys for Republicans say persistently sour voter attitudes about the economy have begun to improve recently, partly because of last week's sharp decline in oil and gasoline prices."

Gas prices have dropped nearly 22 cents a gallon in the last two weeks. -- Chicago Tribune