Americans Have Mixed Feelings About the TSA

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Recent Reason-Rupe survey data reveals that 69 percent of the public believes the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has made air travel safer. This is generally consistent across political groups, although Democrats are the most likely to agree (74 percent) and the Tea Party is least likely to agree (64 percent).

Do you think the TSA has made air travel safer?

However, the public is divided over whether it believes the TSA would catch a terrorist trying to board an airplane at a U.S. airport. Forty nine percent have confidence in the TSA whereas 44 percent do not. At 53 percent Democrats are the most likely to believe the TSA would catch a terrorist trying to board an airplane, compared to pure Independents, only 44 percent of whom are confident in the TSA.

Are you confident that the TSA would catch a terrorist trying to board an airplane at a US airport?

The public is also fairly divided over supporting the replacement of TSA airport security screeners with screeners from private companies working under government supervision, with 41 percent in favor and 47 percent opposed. However, dramatic differences emerge comparing political groups. Sixty one percent of Tea Party supporters favor privatizing the TSA compare to 31 percent opposed. This result is flipped for Democrats with 61 percent opposed and 29 percent in favor. A majority of independents also oppose privatization at 52 percent to 35 percent. Republicans are split with 44 percent in favor and 43 percent opposed.

Would you favor or oppose replacing TSA airport security screeners with screeners from private companies working under government supervision?

Click here for full survey results.

Survey Methods

The Reason-Rupe Q3 2011 poll collected a nationally representative sample of 1200 respondents, aged 18 and older from all 50 states and the District of Columbia using live telephone interviews from August 9th-18th 2011. The margin of sampling error for this poll is ± 3 percent. The margin of error for the GOP presidential race numbers is ± 4.79%. Interviews were conducted with respondents using both landline (790) and mobile phones (410). Landline respondents were randomly selected within households based on the adult who had the most recent birthday. Sample was weighted by gender, age, ethnicity, and Census region, based on the most recent US Census data. The sampling frame included landline and mobile phone numbers generated using Random Digit Dialing (RDD) methods and randomly selected numbers from a directory-listed sample. Clickhere for full methodological details. NSON Opinion Strategy conducted the poll's fieldwork. View full methodology.

NEXT: Michigan Bar Owners Ban Lawmakers for Banning Smoking! (Nanny of the Month, Aug 2011)

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  1. Recent Reason-Rupe survey data reveals that 69 percent of the public believes the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has made air travel safer.

    And that right there says everything you need to know about the American public. They bought the Security Kabuki hook line and sinker.

    1. Also, we smell.

    2. Yeah, I couldn’t read past that point because of the projectile vomiting.

  2. When I flew a week ago, the spiffy new uniforms were noticable, with epaulets and golden badges…just like a real police man ! But what amused me were the guys wearing some sort of black fleece vest, so they could pretend they were on the swat team. Hey TSA guy, it’s microfiber not kevlar !

  3. As I said in another thread, I’d really like to see this question broken down along frequent flier / occasional flier / almost never fly lines.

    1. Also soccer mom/not soccer mom.

  4. Leaving aside airplanes for the moment, the security theater is worse than useless everywhere else.

    If you’re a terrorist, and you want to bomb/shoot up a bunch of people, you will hardly find a better target than the people clustered tightly waiting to go through security.

    Security checkpoints are deterrents to terrorists, they’re holding pens for terrorist victims.

  5. Security checkpoints aren’t deterrents to terrorists, they’re holding pens for terrorist victims.

  6. They’ll stop the amateurs, but if a pro really wants to take out a plane he will, based on my observations and 40 year old training in the service of Uncle Sam. Fortunately, as UBL admitted, the purpose is really to make the US waste money and continue to fear AQ (i.e. create terror). I have to fly out of Washington National on 9/11 for a business meeting, and I’m looking forward to screening even less than usual.

    1. Fortunately, as UBL admitted, the purpose is really to make the US waste money and continue to fear AQ

      If AQ didn’t exist it would be necessary for the US to create it. UBL was playing right into FedGov’s hands.

  7. I’d love to know if Democrats felt the same way about the TSA 3 or 4 years ago.

  8. That’s because the TSA feels Americans.

  9. Its times like these when I wish zoning laws didn’t exist and Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms was a convenience store on the corner of my block.

  10. A couple of days ago I noticed they took down the little four foot chain link fence on the edge of the train station platform next to the parking lot. I thought, “at least that’s a little more convenient and less confining”. Today there are new sixteen foot posts stuck in the ground. Fuck.

    1. maybe they won’t hang fencing between the posts

  11. A question nobody seems to have asked: has TSA ever caught a terrorist trying to board a plane?

  12. The only thing TSA does is STILL violate the 4th amendment, even with the “upgraded” body scanners. It’s the same as a cop searching your house and the coming out and handing you a stick figure picture of your house. Just cause the picture is different doesn’t mean a unconstitutional search didn’t take place.

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