Why the poll saying 56% of Americans support NSA is wrong

In summary:

-About a 25% of the respondents were questioned on Thursday June 6th, the story didn't initially break in the Washington Post and Guardian until late that same day and the poll only continued until June 10th just as the story was starting to fully sink in on a nationwide basis.

-Only 26% of respondents were following the NSA story closely at the time they took the poll.

-Corporate media (Charlie Rose, Piers Morgan, Gayle King...etc) has been using the story as a way to portray supporters of Snowden's actions as fringe or unpatriotic.

I've seen several interviews today and yesterday where the corporate news anchor, in one case Oprah's friend Gayle on Good Morning America and in the other Piers Morgan, use a recent Pew Research poll to argue that 56% of Americans approve of the NSA spying. With only 41% of Americans opposing the spying.

Gayle characterizes the question by saying, "a lot of Americans seem to be OK with what the government is doing to monitor terrorist threats even if it invades on privacy." Rand Paul answers that he doesn't believe it is true.

Piers Morgan characterized the question by saying, "half of Americans in recent polls disagree with what Snowden did." At the end of the clip below.

This is the way the question was actually worded in the poll:

As you may know, it has been reported that the National Security Agency has been getting secret court orders to track telephone call records of MILLIONS of Americans in an effort to investigate terrorism. Would you consider this access to telephone call records an acceptable or unacceptable way for the federal government to investigate terrorism?

In a seperate question in the poll people were asked how closely they were following the story referred to with this wording in the poll, "The government collecting emails and other online activities directly from large internet companies to track foreign suspects in terror investigations." Only 26% had followed the story closely and 33% said they had not followed the story closely at all with 17% saying 'not to closely.' So it is entirely possible that a large percentage of the people who said they favored the government's spying to stop terror did not yet realize the extent of the intrusion by the NSA programs.

And then there was a question that was not brought up in any corporate media reports that I saw that took a general stance of defending the programs. And that was this question:

Do you think the U.S. government should be able to monitor everyone’s email and other online activities if officials say this might prevent future terrorist attacks?

52% said "No" to 45% "Yes" and I would be willing to speculate that once some of the 44% who did not follow the story learned the details of the story they would change their minds. And some of the people taking the poll were asked this question before the Prism story had even broke in the Guardian!

Filed Under: Foreign PolicyNational Politics


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  1. BostonMike says:

    They call it a poll because it is true! Snowden is nothing more than a trader! I’m actually surprised the number is not higher. The NSA should look into the people who oppose this problem because they obviously have something to hide.

    • Joseph says:

      Dude, you and about 10 other people are going around posting disinfo about Edward Snowden around the net. You are giving yourself away and we are grabbing IPs as we speak. Your spelling of “trader” is a signature you’re leaving everywhere. Stop, you’re embarrassing yourselves shills.

      • captain obvious says:

        No way Joseph he is obviously Mike From Boston.

        Say Mate would you like some fresh fried cod with your lobstuh. Red Sox World Pennant 2011. I got her number, How do you like them apples????

    • C says:

      What a shill comment!! You can give up your own rights, they will have to take mine from me.

  2. Nboros says:

    I think the theif Snowden should be arrested and thrown in jail and then throw away the key. All of these folks that are so worried should stop being so creepy and worry about something else.

  3. Evan Rogers says:

    Almost every single intelligence personality in DC has been found to be lying to congress.

    Screw these bastards. I hope they rot in hell.

    America overthrew King George for less than this crap. I’m ashamed to call myself an American.

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