NOT THE RESULTS THE GOP WAS HOPING FOR…. It’s been more than two weeks since the failed Christmas-day terrorist plot, but there hasn’t been a lot of polling about the incident. CNN released a new one today, and it seems American attitudes are surprisingly encouraging on the matter, despite misplaced media hype and Republican exploitation/fear-mongering.

In the wake of the Christmas day attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner, most Americans remain confident that the Obama administration can protect the country from terrorism, according to a new national poll. […]

Nearly two-thirds of people questioned in the poll say they have a moderate or great deal of confidence in the administration to protect the public from future terrorist attacks, up 2 points from August. Thirty-five percent say they have not much or no confidence at all, down 1 point from August.

A number of Republicans have criticized the president over his handling of the attempted bombing of Northwest flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit. But according to the survey, 57 percent approve of the way President Barack Obama’s responded, with 39 percent disapproving of how he handled the situation.

Of particular interest, the poll suggests Americans are less concerned about their personal safety now than before the failed attempt. Respondents were asked, “How worried are you that you or someone in your family will become a victim of terrorism?” The results were largely the same as they were in mid-October, with those who are “very worried” going down a little, and those who are “not worried at all” going up a little.

So, most Americans are confident in the Obama administration; they approve of the president’s handling of the issue; and they’re not panicking about the terrorist threat. This is a pleasant surprise.

The news wasn’t entirely encouraging though — a majority of poll respondents said they’d prefer to see Abdulmutallab tried in a military court, as opposed to the civilian judicial system, but chances are, the public hasn’t heard much about the merits of this debate.

Neverthless, overall it seems the public is remaining fairly calm about all of this, and Republicans’ apoplectic talking points aren’t having much of an effect. It’s good to see.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.