Edward Snowden

Poll: Increasing Number of Americans Think Snowden Did the Wrong Thing



Shortly after Edward Snowden revealed his identity 38 percent of those polled in a HuffPo/YouGov poll said that they believed the NSA whistleblower did the right thing when he released classified documents relating to American surveillance programs.

A few weeks later it appears that an increasing number of Americans believe that Snowden did the wrong thing.

From The Huffington Post:

More Americans now think Edward Snowden did the wrong thing in releasing classified documents about U.S. surveillance programs, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.

According to the new poll, 38 percent of Americans think that Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency, did the wrong thing, while 33 percent said he did the right thing. Still, 29 percent of Americans remain unsure about Snowden's actions.

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  1. Let’s see, should I worry about this one guy who may or may not have done questionable things or this gigantic government that definitely has done and is continuing to do godawful things? Hmmmm, quite the conundrum.

  2. Edward Snowden is my personal hero. Anyone who says otherwise is a stinking coward on at least three levels.

  3. they obviously do not realize his importance as a new millennial libertarian pushing the movement forward in new ways..lol….hate big government unless they are giving me free goodies

  4. Related, is the bizarrely popular “Snowden betrayed Obama and his country for EVIL PROFITSES” meme being pushed centrally from somewhere I’m unaware of, or is it grassroots idiocy?

    1. If Snowden did it for money, then the NSA must be right. Yeah, I am betting on grassroots idiocy. That is classic prog idiocy there.

    2. Idiocy. Nothing more required.
      Well, blind faith in his majesty helps.

    3. It’s such a red herring. He could be a Nazi working to ultimately thaw a frozen Hitler, but that doesn’t take away from the disturbing things he’s uncovered about our government. Snowden is no threat to me. My government most certainly is.

      It’s madness to worry more about Snowden than about the government. I don’t care what your politics are.

      1. ^ This. It’s so easy for people to eat the red herring/s.

        Q: Do you think Colorado was correct to legalize marijuana based on financial & liberty reasons?

        A: Colorado is full of a bunch of liberals.

        Q: Umm, true. But, do you think Colorado was correct to legalize marijuana based on financial & liberty reasons?

        And, of course, you can substitute any number of such Q&A.

        1. I grow tired of the nonsense.

          1. ONE of the reasons I don’t discuss politics with fellow academics any more. What they don’t know or understand is generally in inverse proportion to how much they think they know or understand. The juvenile reasoning and limited knowledge base of most academics about contemporary politics is truly astounding.

            1. I was appalled by the closed-mindedness of most academics during my academic career. I understand the kind of tunnel vision that a terminal degree can create, but still.

              We need a Re-Enlightenment.

              1. You mean that when we, as a society, began to look down upon the broad study of those disciplines (such as rhetoric, literature, philosophy, history, etc.) that would enable someone to competently participate in civic life, and instead replaced “education” with mere vocational training, we would produce a generation of people who had no knowledge of the ideas and values that shape our civilization and have no ability to participate meaningfully in the debate of such principles? A debate that is essential to maintaining the health and dynamism of a civic republic?

                I am shocked, I tell you, shocked!

                1. I want to “like” this comment, but I need tax dollars to do it. So I’m going to have to settle for “awesome”.

                  1. I’m sure a “comment like” tax-law loophole could be found somewhere by a competent tax attorney.

                2. Hmmm…I’m not sure that’s it HM. I think it’s just a product of the left’s march though ossified institutions. Hopefully, MOOCs will let us tear them down.

                  1. Speaking of that, I just finished Paul Peterson’s Saving Schools, which is a great book on the history and future of school reform. Basically, he takes all the sacred cows of American education and shows how the reforms they enacted led to the increased centralization of education to the Federal government, to the detriment of effective pedagogy.

                    He then has a brief discussion of how new technologies, like online courses and hybrid online schools, will led to increased customization and a return to local and personal control over one’s education (if teacher’s unions and the government doesn’t kill it).

                    Though, I thought his profile of online-education entrepreneur Julie Young bordered on the haigographic.

                  2. It’s an interesting argument. There is a utilitarian attitude toward higher ed which has been growing. I think there is some value to that argument but it shouldn’t be the exclusive approach.

                    At the same time, the left’s utilization of higher ed for political purposes can’t be ignored (of course, higher ed has always been used for political purposes but the current politicization is part of the problem facing higher ed). We had a guest speaker at my school a couple of years back who was part of a group wanting to “sell” the value of the liberal arts to the American people. One of her goals was to try and reach out to conservative groups to convince them of the value of the liberal arts. This statement was greeted by snickers & guffaws by the largely academic audience.

                    The “goal” and the response both demonstrate the tunnel vision of most academics (see my original post above). They equate conservative discontent with, and opposition to, the modern university with conservative rejection of the liberal arts (kind of like rejecting the welfare state means you don’t care for the poor). Academics continue to be surprised that their politicization of the academy draws political opposition.

                    1. I think there is some value to that argument but it shouldn’t be the exclusive approach.


                      I find it strange that anyone would think conservatives have to be “sold” on the liberal arts. The most vocal proponents of the classical liberal arts education are dyed-in-the-wool cultural conservatives like Harold Bloom, E.D. Hirsch, and Mortimer Adler.

                      Indeed, most “Christian” homeschool curricula (which remain the largest population of homeschoolers out there) are based in Thomas Aquinas-style scholasticism with a focus on the traditional liberal arts.

                      In fact, many of the STEM uber alles cheerleaders have, historically, been Progressive technocrats looking for “engineers” to help them build utopia. They’re the ones who argue “What societal value does a knowledge of history, literature, philosophy (distinct from ideology, which they love!) have? The people need bridges and aqueducts and roads!!!”

                    2. HM: “I find it strange that anyone would think conservatives have to be “sold” on the liberal arts.”

                      As best as I can tell there are three (overlapping) reasons that academics think conservatives oppose the liberal arts:

                      i) Conservatives often oppose public funding for education therefore conservatives oppose education.

                      ii) Ignorance (see my first point) fueled by reading academic reviews and journals (e.g. “Chronicle of Higher Education) which essentially function as confirmation bias.

                      iii) Inherited arrogance i.e. “I am an academic. I am smart, I believe X. That person believes not-X. That person is dumb and/or uneducated. That person is a conservative. Therefore, conservatives oppose education.”

                      I know that last point sounds simplistic but the shallowness of the thinking of many academics on current events is really quite astounding.

                3. Public education takes too much on itself in hoping to churn out civilization-worthy Renaissance men. Instead we’re delivered barely literate adolescent adults with glossy ideas of history and literature and no philosophical foundation, because everything must be tailored to the LCD. Children are pliable and public educators tend to sympathize with power. I’ll take politically-neutral tech/voc regimens over the “whole student” approach.

                  Isn’t the precept of a republic insulating the power structure from the vagaries of a capricious voter base? Assuming voters will be, in aggregate, ineducable plebes is a safer bet than thinking we can ever raise the average voter’s apprehension of the disciplines you name to a Tocquevilleian degree.

                  1. (On reading some of the ensuing comments before I refreshed, let me add that I’m not suggesting tech/voc bare-bones education for all students, only that pressuring all students into the same formulaic lib-arts education is a major problem.)

                    1. I agree. I think the point that Peterson makes, and that all of us liberty-minded folk would agree with is that any formulaic one-size-fits all education system is a problem. People have different aptitudes and different goals in life. A true free marketplace of ideas would provide various schools that cater to the needs of a diverse population; however, because the government has stuck its nose into what was once the most private of affairs outside of the bedroom, what was once a vibrant and dynamic system has been forced into the mediocrity of standardization.

                    2. How familiar are you with public education, pre-DOE? Can you suggest any literature on the subject?

                    3. Oops, I reread the bit on Peterson. I thought it was purely reform material. I’ll look it up.

                    4. In addition to Peterson, I recommend John Taylor Gatto’s The Underground History of American Education, which is available for free on his website.

                4. You mean that when we, as a society, began to look down upon the broad study of those disciplines (such as rhetoric, literature, philosophy, history, etc.)

                  It is exactly the people concentrating on those disciplines that cannot competently participate in civil life, thus must be housed in academia. Yes, we’ve turned those disciplines into vocations, mostly because science and math is so hard.

                  Of course it is telling that you leave science and math out of your parenthetical list. If anything, American society increasingly looks down upon math and science – most people will advocate for math and science but most people will not try to actually DO any math and science.

                  1. That last bit is true because actually trying stuff out is hard. People want someone else to give them the answer. Of course there are frequently very sensible reasons to avoid experiment’n on one’s own and to search for answers others have come up with, but I think a lot of people are overly reticent about experimenting.

  5. I am thinking around 20% would think anyone releasing classified documents did the wrong thing. The other 18% are just Obama retards who think anyone who does anything to embarrass dear one of the creased pants is doing the wrong thing.

    I don’t find this poll surprising.

    1. Basically, they were all for Snowden until they got the new talking points.

  6. Man, that’s disheartening.

  7. I don’t doubt that HuffPo readers would fall in line with whatever DiFi decrees, however anomalous the comments were when this was a fresher story (probably due to irregular site visitors like myself). To regularly visit and actively support that site (short of journalistic obligation) is to more or less condone the appalling behavior of Arianna herself, who has yet to apologize for a career path that has seen everything from bilking idiots who believe in “channeling,” a marriage of convenience to a rich Republican, and accepting the $350 million bid from AOL while still refusing to pay most of the site’s content providers.

    1. Wow, that stuff was clearly foretold in the Book of Revelation. So Huffington is…I shudder to think…

      1. The Whore of Babylon? Yes.

    2. I had no idea she did all that stuff. Is there a link to a more thorough summary? What is channelling?

      1. What is channelling

        People who believe a psychic can let a spirit enter their body and talk. So like, if I wanted to talk to Julius Caesar, I’d pay a channeler to let Caesar’s spirit enter his body and then I’d “talk” to him.

  8. Dear Reason,

    Please stop reporting on polls, whether they’re conducted by the Huffington Post, Reason-Rupe, or anyone else. Right and wrong is in no way related to the opinions of a random sampling of people who happen to answer their phones. It just doesn’t matter. At all.

    1. But…but…statistics! SCIENCE!

      1. She blinded me with polling data.

    2. Polls as a whole seem to support a notion that I’ve seen advanced elsewhere — That about 10-20% of the population has a fluid concept of reality. They’re the easily suggestible types that stage hypnotists select for their performances, and waffle in their opinions and stances depending on what they perceive “consensus” to be, though they may passionately insist on the truth of whatever view they currently hold. That this percentage is greater than the margin in most elections explains a lot about democracy.

    3. How else am I supposed to get horribly depressed?

    4. You mean what people think is inconsequential?

  9. “We’ll just keep fine tuning the questions until we get the numbers we want.”

    1. That’s about it, isn’t it.

  10. Hate him wouldn’t want to date him.

  11. “More people wrong than ever, news at 11!”

    Although – especially in markets where information is fairly free and participation voluntary – the majority tend to be right eventually, it has been fetishized to a ridiculous degree.

  12. Only 1 in 3 think he did the right thing? Man I’m certain the founding fathers would have just given up and gone home if they could have seen what we’d become.

    1. We are the domesticated descendents of a once wild people.

    2. Either that or they’d try to mobilize the 1 in 3 and march on Washington. IIRC even the Revolution was not popularly supported?

  13. “According to the new poll, 38 percent of Americans think that Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency, did the wrong thing, while 33 percent said he did the right thing.”

    Americans hate losers.

    If he’d gotten away scott free and were sitting on a beach somewhere with his asylum intact, I suspect the polls would be different.

    But he’s not. He’s facing the dreadful wrath of Barack Obama, and he’s stuck, stateless, in airport in Russia somewhere, with nowhere to go?

    Of course he did the wrong thing!

    That’s the way a lot of those people are thinking.

  14. sad thing is most people are too bogged down with credit card, student loan, home loan, etc etc debt to be concerned with liberty…they want someone who “feels their pain” whatever the fuck that means…I have no faith in the general public to end the mindless antics of government

  15. He made Obama look foolish, so he did a bad thing.
    -Proggie partisan

    He gave our secrets away to the terrorists and made us less safe, so he did a bad thing.
    -SoCon partisan

    He exposed an immoral and illegal secret government program that not only infringes on our right to privacy but ignores the 1A, 4A and 5A and deserves a fucking medal.
    -Person with a brain

    1. He gave our secrets away to the terrorists and made us less safe, so he did a bad thing.
      -SoCon partisan

      Actually, Tony made exactly that point damn near word-for-word and then proceeded to engage in one of his chase-the-tail circular reasoning sessions defending the idea that Snowden had actually infringed the rights of people who wanted to “feel safe.”

      It was stultifying.

  16. If you are going to rely on HuffPo for opinions on Snowdens popularity, then like I have been saying here for weeks, they want to burn him at the stake over there. That has NOT changed at HuffPo, at all. They are a bunch of fascist proggies, and he’s making their master look bad, so what to expect?

    All in all, around the world, I see this guy gaining positive support. I think that trend will increase.

  17. Anyone know the contemporary opinion on Daniel Ellsberg about a month after he leaked the pentagon papers?? That would be a good barometer for comparison.

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