Poll Suggests Most Americans Are Fine With NSA Spying

A Pew Research Center/Washington Post poll released on Monday showed that for a majority of Americans, catching terrorists is more important than intrusions on personal privacy.

What's the Latest Development?


On Monday, days after it was revealed that the US government was amassing millions of telecommunications and Internet data records, a Pew Research Center/Washington Post poll of just over 1,000 adults showed that a majority are fine with the government's actions if it means that terrorist actions will be thwarted. Fifty-six percent of those polled said that the secret accessing of phone call records was "acceptable," a five-point jump from 2006. In addition, there was only a seven-point difference between those who said even more monitoring should occur (45 percent) and those who said no additional monitoring is necessary (52 percent).

What's the Big Idea?

News of the National Security Agency (NSA)'s PRISM program has sent shock waves around the world, with many wondering what it means for privacy going forward. Interestingly, opinions have shifted along political lines: In 2006, when a Republican president was in office, fewer Democrats were in favor of NSA activities (37 percent) than they are now that a Democrat is in the White House (64 percent). The reverse is true for Republicans: Although a majority (52 percent) still approve of the monitoring, that's down from 75 percent in 2006.

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