Poll Finds Public Split on Whether Edward Snowden Is a Hero or Traitor


In August, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "I think Snowden is a traitor, and I think he has hurt our country, and I hope someday he is brought to justice."

The new Reason-Rupe poll finds Americans are sharply divided on how they view the NSA surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden. Thirty-nine percent say Snowden is a "traitor for leaking government secrets." Nearly the same number, 35 percent, say he is a "patriot" for letting the public know about the government's surveillance programs. And 16 percent of Americans say they have mixed opinions about Snowden.

Older Americans are much more likely than young people to see Snowden as a traitor. More than half, 52 percent, of those 65 years and older described Snowden as a traitor. Meanwhile, just 30 percent of the 18-34 year-old bracket called him a traitor.  Forty-four percent of 18-34 year-olds said Snowden is a hero.

Republicans and Democrats are nearly identical in their assessment of Snowden, with 32 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of Democrats believing he is a patriot. Independents, however, are far more likely to see Snowden in a positive light, with 43 percent saying he's a patriot. 


Nationwide telephone poll conducted September 4-8 2013 interviewed 1013 adults on both mobile (509) and landline (504) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.7%. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results found here. Full methodology can be found here.