Poll: Fifty-six percent of Americans say NSA tracking of phone records is OK as anti-terror tactic
Given all the hysteria and hyperbole of recent days, I’m a little surprised at THIS:
More than half of all Americans – 56 percent – say that the National Security Administration’s program tracking the phone records of millions of Americans is an acceptable way for the government to investigate terrorism, while 41 percent find it unacceptable, according to a Pew Research Center and Washington Post poll released Monday.
The survey, conducted between June 6-9, found that the recent revelations of the government’s wide collection of personal phone and email records have not shifted public opinion on the tradeoff between national security and protecting citizens’ privacy. Sixty-two percent of respondents say it is more important for the government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy. Only 34 percent of those polled said it is more important for the government not to intrude on personal privacy.
A January 2006 Washington Post/ABC poll—which was released in the wake of President George W. Bush’s “terrorist surveillance program”—found that 51 percent of Americans believed it was appropriate for the NSA to investigate suspected terrorists by “secretly listening in on telephone calls and reading e-mails between some people in the United States and other countries, without first getting court approval to do so.”
Pew highlights partisan shifts on the issue between 2006 and 2013, which may be attributed to a change of party in the White House. In 2006, 75 percent of Republicans and 37 percent of Democrats thought it was acceptable to monitor phone records in the name of national security. Today, 52 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of Democrats find it acceptable.