President Barack Obama’s approval rating is sinking like a stone in a new CNN/ORC poll — but it’s not because of Americans’ reactions to the National Security Agency surveillance program known as “PRISM.”
In fact, the public overwhelmingly approves of the program. The poll found that 66 per cent of Americans say the Obama administration was right to gather and analyse information from major internet companies to help locate suspected terrorists.
Here’s the full wording of the question posed in the poll:
[F]or the past few years the Obama administration has reportedly been gathering and analysing information from major internet companies about audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails and documents involving people in other countries in an attempt to locate suspected terrorists. The government reportedly does not target internet usage by U.S. citizens and if such data is collected, it is kept under strict controls. Do you think the Obama administration was right or wrong in gathering and analysing that internet data?
Overall, according to the poll, the public has exhibited a collective shrug to new revelations detailing the scope of the NSA’s surveillance efforts. On its collection of phone data, the public is less gung-ho about the program, but still supportive — 51 per cent say the Obama administration is right, while 48 per cent say it’s wrong.
Incidentally, partisans on both sides of the aisle are most likely to support the programs.
Self-identified Republicans and Democrats approve of both programs, while Independents are much less enthusiastic. They disapprove of the NSA’s phone surveillance program by a 40-58 split, and their approval of PRISM (58-41) significantly trails both Republicans (67-31) and Democrats (76-24)
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