Of 252 households surveyed less than 48 hours after Wednesday's tragedy, 71.7% said they fully expect a repeat this year. Only 25.6% said another bombing was unlikely.
Further, a significant minority-30.6%-say their lives have been changed by the bombing.
"When nearly one-third who feel that life has changed for them describe the change they foresee, it is generally a resignation to living with a raised level of anxiety and fear," said Shapiro CEO George Rosenbaum.
The "heartland" element of the Oklahoma City bombing has had its effect, with 71% saying that tragedy had affected them more than the World Trade Center blast of two years ago; 9% said the New York tragedy had affected them more.
Tellingly, 95% of those surveyed mentioned the bombing in an unaided recall question about news events of the past week, compared with 90% who mentioned the Gulf War in a survey taken by Shapiro when the war broke out in January 1991.
While those surveyed thought the bombing was more important to the country than they thought the war in Iraq was when it began, they also said the Gulf War had a more immediate impact on their own lives. The difference was explained by Leo J. Shapiro, founder of the Chicago-based research firm: "Overnight we went into a war mentality after Iraq invaded Kuwait. This time the enemy is invisible. We are not going to have to mobilize our physical resources to fight the enemy.
"So, therefore, people do not see any interruption in their income, their jobs or the supply of goods. Thus, economically, they plan to go on as before, albeit more tentatively."
Consumer behavior appears to bear out the numbers and Mr. Shapiro. While retailers saw sales slow dramatically after the Gulf War began, stores and companies contacted by Advertising Age saw no similar decline in the Oklahoma City aftermath.
There appears to be a disturbing sense of fatalism, a knowledge that any spot, any building is potentially ground zero for a terrorist attack.
Of those surveyed, 87% felt there's nothing they can do to protect themselves against a bombing; 47% said the government is doing all it can to protect them, and 59% said President Clinton is doing as much as he can.
The national survey was conducted by phone; margin of error is 6 percentage points.
Though the mass media splashed the "terror in the heartland" theme across pages and airwaves, the survey shows concern from coast to coast. In the Northeast, 74% felt a bombing in another city is likely this year; closer to the epicenter, 75.6% in the Midwest thought another bombing likely, but that slipped to 68.6% in the West.
Putting distance between themselves and the bombing sometimes helped people feel safer. Overall, 57.7% consider the place they live or work safer than most other areas of the country from a bombing attack-that ranged from a low of 51.5% in the South to a high of 68.1% in the West.
The one memory that seems likely to affect Americans' activity is the heart-stopping image of children injured and killed in the bombing.
"I'm very scared about going to public places and letting my kids out to school now," said one respondent, a 44-year-old woman from the South.
From New York City, another 44-year-old woman said: "Children go out to Yankee Stadium where there are a lot of people around. I think twice about going to public events."
This one hit home
How adults polled by Leo J. Shapiro & Associates said the bombing has impacted them:
Which affected you more, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York or the federal building bombing in Oklahoma City?
World Trade Center8.7%
No difference/did not
Do you think it is likely or not very likely there will be another bombing in an American city this year?
How important is the bombing for the country as a whole? (Rate 1 to 9, with 9 being the highest; gulf war rated 8.0 when it began in January 1991)8.2
How important is the bombing for you and how much will it affect your life? (gulf war rated 6.7)5.9
On balance, do you think your life will be changed as a result of the bombing?