Americans are OK with the government tracking their communications to investigate terrorism — as long as someone from their preferred political party is running the White House.
According to a new poll from the Pew Research centre, partisan Republicans and Democrats’ views on surveillance from the National Security Agency have shifted a stunning amount from the Bush to Obama administrations.
The poll found that overall, 56 per cent of voters found it “acceptable” that the NSA has been “getting secret court orders to track calls of millions of Americans to investigate terrorism.” That includes 64 per cent of Democrats and 52 per cent of Republicans.
That’s a stark shift from a similar question in 2002, which asked whether voters found it acceptable that the NSA had been “investigating people suspected of terrorist involvement by secretly listening in on phone calls and reading emails without court approval.” That time, only 37 per cent of Democrats found it acceptable, while an astounding 75 per cent of Republicans called it acceptable.
Here’s a nice chart that spells out the hypocrisy:
The bottom line, however, is that a majority of people in all political parties favour the NSA’s actions. When asked, generally, whether privacy or security was more important, 62 per cent said it was more important to investigate potential terror threats. Only 34 per cent said it was more important to not intrude on privacy.
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