Pew: Majority Of Americans Support NSA Phone Tracking

We’re a little late noting this poll, but it’s important so we’re backing up a bit: A Pew poll released Monday finds a majority of Americans — 56 percent — think the National Security Agency’s tracking of phone records “is an acceptable way for the government to investigate terrorism.”

Forty-one percent say it is unacceptable.

Pew adds:

“The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center and The Washington Post, conducted June 6-9 among 1,004 adults, finds no indications that last week’s revelations of the government’s collection of phone records and internet data have altered fundamental public views about the tradeoff between investigating possible terrorism and protecting personal privacy.

“Currently 62% say it is more important for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy. Just 34% say it is more important for the government not to intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate possible terrorist threats.”

That sentiment really hasn’t changed much since 2006. See this graph put together by Pew:

A table showing how the public feels about the balance of privacy and security. Pew

A table showing how the public feels about the balance of privacy and security. Pew

What’s more, the sentiment hasn’t changed significantly between the Obama and Bush administrations. Fifty-one percent said it was acceptable for the NSA to secretly listen to phone calls and read emails without a court’s approval back in 2006.

Pew further points out that like everything these days, there is a partisan divide in those numbers. Pew reports:

“Today, only about half of Republicans (52%) say it is acceptable for the NSA to obtain court orders to track phone call records of millions of Americans to investigate terrorism. In January 2006, fully 75% of Republicans said it was acceptable for the NSA to investigate suspected terrorists by listing in on phone calls and reading emails without court approval.

“Democrats now view the NSA’s phone surveillance as acceptable by 64% to 34%. In January 2006, by a similar margin (61% to 36%), Democrats said it was unacceptable for the NSA to scrutinize phone calls and emails of suspected terrorists.”

Update at 9:54 p.m. ET. On Email:

Our editor, Catherine Laidlaw, points out another curiosity about this poll: Everyone but the 65 and older crowd think the government should not “be able to monitor everyone’s email and other online activities if officials say this might prevent future terrorist attacks.”

Over all, 52 percent believe the government should not have that power. Forty-five percent say they should.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit
Read original article
Pew: Majority Of Americans Support NSA Phone Tracking

Recent headlines

  • Juneau residents will vote for three assembly seats and two school board members in the October 7 election. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

    Jamie Bursell appointed to the Juneau Assembly

    "Her focus on education, her focus on examining our city budget at a really deep level, not just a broad stroke policy level, but getting into the line items – I think that’s a really valuable for assembly members to go after the budget work," said Deputy Mayor Jesse Kiehl.
  • Rorie Watt said he's "terribly excited" to be Juneau's next city manager. (Photo by Autumn Sapp)

    Juneau Assembly selects Rorie Watt as next city manager

    "I just think that the manager’s job is the juggler of so many different things. I think it’s just going to be fun. I don’t think it’s going to be easy," Rorie Watt said.
  • Delta's first flight of the summer season touched down in Juneau at 8:49 p.m. May 30 with 120 passengers from Seattle. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

    For Juneau, it’s a good time to fly

    "Juneau to Minneapolis for $361. New York for $365, which is insane. The fares dropped by $100 to $200 overnight. And adjusted for inflation, really, Juneau has never ever seen these exceptional rates," said travel analyst Scott McMurren.
  • North Slope Borough Police SUVs cars

    Barrow Rep. Nageak’s nephew killed in police shooting

    The facts of what happened aren't clear yet. The body is on its way to Anchorage for autopsy, and state investigators were Barrow-bound.


Playing Now: