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Despair at the Number of Americans Who Choose Security over Liberty, Privacy

Poll shows citizens fine with warrantless snooping to fight terrorism.

According to a new, frustrating poll, a majority of Americans in both the major parties appears to support warrantless government surveillance of Americans' online activity and communications to fight terrorism.

I say "appears" because the question that the Associated Press and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago is written oddly and never says the word "surveillance." Instead it just calls it "analysis."

Here's the response and the question below. This is from a poll earlier in December that was conducted with 1,042 adults:

AP/NORCAP/NORC

Of important note, those who are don't affiliate with either party are the ones who don't, as a majority, support warrantless surveillance. Unfortunately a majority of independents don’t oppose it either, and they represent the largest chunk of "neither" respondents.

Sex and age were also a factor. Men were less likely to support surveillance, as were, interestingly, millennials between 18-29. Only 33 percent of millennials polled supported warrantless surveillance.

The poll also asked folks how well they thought the government was doing in its task of protecting citizens' freedoms. Perhaps unsurprisingly (to us, anyway) independents ranked the government lower in every single category from freedom of speech to freedom of unreasonable search and seizure than Democrats or Republicans:

AP/NORCAP/NORC

Consider it a chicken and egg scenario. Did their beliefs that the government isn't protecting civil liberties drive them away from the two political parties in the first place, or did their strong desires for individual liberty exist first and make them skeptical of our political masters?

Read more about the poll here

Photo Credit: AndyRobertsPhotos / photo on flickr

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  • Hamster of Doom||

    Urban camping. Crony capitalism. And now "analysis".

    Words have meaning. Control the words, control the inside of people's heads.

  • ||

    Consider it a chicken and egg scenario.

    It's a poll. Therefore it is a retarded scenario. Polls are shit. They don't mean anything. They're about as scientific as NutraSweet's Warty Hugeman scifi. In fact, NutraSweet is probably more scientific.

  • Hugh Akston||

    So wait, you're saying the timesuit isn't real?

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    H&R comment section: where dreams go to die.

  • Pro Libertate||

    He didn't say it wasn't real. He said it wasn't scientific.

  • Hugh Akston||

    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic to Episiarch, because he's kind of dumb?"

    - Arthur C. Clarke.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Little-known fact: Episiarch only eats pizza that has exactly the ratio of 1:4:9.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's thin-monolith.

  • SugarFree||

    I will slap the cock out of your mouth, boy.

  • Citizen X||

    That's gonna take a lot of force. It's pretty well lodged in there.

  • ||

    What are you talking about, idiot? My biographer is subject to rigorous peer review.

  • Citizen X||

    SugarFree has peers? That's... horrifying to think about.

  • Citizen X||

    Men were less likely to support surveillance, as were, interestingly, millennials between 18-29.

    One takeaway: lots of single dudes with millstones for browser histories.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I find it particularly troubling that Republicans favor "analysis" despite Obama being in the White House for the last seven years.

    Gun rights types typically see gun registries as a step towards confiscation. Why would they want Obama tracking their phone calls?

    I still believe that partisans on both sides strive to become the caricatures their opponents on the other side make them out to be. It's an irresistible force to a lot of people.

    On the Democrat side, that force can make them buy Priuses they wouldn't want otherwise, swill lattes, and pay four bucks a piece for apples at Whole Foods. On the Republican side, it can make them watch NASCAR races they don't care about, talk like they're Billy Gibbons in the beginning of La Grange, and support letting Obama keep tabs on who they're talking to.

  • Brian||

    Choices involve thinking and responsibility for consequences.

    It's much easier to sit back and whine about your obvious victim status.

  • macsnafu||

    "Analysis". Sure. Why would anyone think that government needs a warrant for analysis? They had to know that people would react differently to the word "surveillance". Thus, this particular question doesn't really tell us very much.

  • retiredfire||

    That's error number one.
    Error number two is the focus on using the "analysis' to fight terrorism.
    The Patriot Act, which is the basis for the enhanced ability to "analyze", did not specify that it was only terrorism that it was to be used to detect. It could relate to any illegal activity and, in a nation where digging a drainage ditch in your own yard could bring you into the focus of FEDGOV, was a huge overreach.

  • GILMORE™||

    "Americans Who Choose Security over Liberty, Privacy"

    The sad part is mostly about how they don't seem to understand that Government is actually extraordinarily incompetent at actually providing any genuine "security".... but they're unbelievably experienced with at fucking their own citizens over and stripping away liberties every day.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    but they're unbelievably experienced with at fucking their own citizens over and stripping away liberties every day.

    And citizens have grown to like it.

  • The Grinch||

    Polls are often worthless and this one is especially so. As mentioned in the article, the wording of the item is iffy to say the least and the results, although not necessarily incorrect, don't mean jack shit.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Pussies and hags

  • Aaron[MA]||

    A whopping 1042 people. Its like it's straight from the pulse of the nation.

  • Alan@.4||

    How I wonder might the "terrorism" fought be spelled?

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