Polls Continue to Show Majority of Americans Against NSA Spying


This post, by Policy Analyst and Legislative Assistant Mark M. Jaycox, originally appeared on the Electronic Frontier Foundation website on Oct. 7.

Shortly after the June leaks, numerous polls asked the American people if they approved or disapproved of the National Security Agency spying, which includes collecting telephone records using Section 215 of the Patriot Act and collecting phone calls and emails using Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The answer then was a resounding no, and new polls released in August and September clearly show Americans’ increasing concern about privacy has continued.

Since July, many of the polls not only confirm the American people think the NSA’s actions violate their privacy, but think the surveillance should be stopped. For instance in an Associated Press poll, nearly 60 percent of Americans said they oppose the NSA collecting data about their telephone and Internet usage. In another national poll by The Washington Post and ABC News, 74 percent of respondents said the NSA’s spying intrudes on their privacy rights. This majority should come as no surprise, as we’ve seen a sea change in opinion polls on privacy since the Edward Snowden revelations started in June.

What’s also important is that it crosses political party lines. The Washington Post/ABC News poll found 70 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of Republicans believe the NSA’s spying programs intrude on their privacy rights. This change is significant, showing that privacy is a bipartisan issue. In 2006, a similar question found only 50 percent of Republicans thought the government intruded on their privacy rights.

Americans also continue their skepticism of the Federal government and its inability to conduct proper oversight. In a recent poll, Rasmussen — though sometimes known for push polling — revealed that there’s been a 30 percent increase in people who believe it is now more likely that the government will monitor their phone calls. Maybe even more significant is that this skepticism carries over into whether Americans believe the government’s claim that it “robustly oversees” the NSA’s programs. In a Huffpost/You Gov poll, 53 percent of respondents said they think “the federal courts and rules put in place by Congress” do not provide “adequate oversight.” Only 18 percent of people agreed with the statement.

Americans seem to be waking up from its surveillance state slumber as the leaks around the illegal and unConstitutional NSA spying continue. The anger Americans — especially younger Americans — have around the NSA spying is starting to show. President Barack Obama has seen a 14-point swing in his approval and disapproval rating among voters aged 18-29 after the NSA spying.

These recent round of polls confirm that Americans are not only concerned with the fact that the spying infringes their privacy, but also that they want the spying to stop. And this is even more so for younger Americans. Now is the time for Congress to act: click here now to join the StopWatching.Us coalition.

Personal Liberty

Electronic Frontier Foundation

From the Internet to the iPod, technologies are transforming our society and empowering us as speakers, citizens, creators, and consumers. When our freedoms in the networked world come under attack, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the first line of defense. EFF broke new ground when it was founded in 1990—well before the Internet was on most people's radar—and continues to confront cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights today. From the beginning, EFF has championed the public interest in every critical battle affecting digital rights. https://www.eff.org/

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  • jerry1944

    And now they have the brain self thing drones to help them. guess as a conservative they will be watching and oooo if they see a weapon with you.But they fly to high for my rifle darn it. And did Roberts turn traitor to his country are did the nsa force him to vote there way. I don’t think I can ever trust any of there judgements from no on

  • dan

    IMHO: Google IS the NSA….embrace Big Brother…or else !
    (SCOTUS did…. Congress did….)
    all bow before the gaze of the ALLSEEING EYE atop the pyramid

    if Jesus doesn’t come soon,we’re in BIG trouble !

  • Debbie Hogan Tate

    Shut down Obama’s golf course! Don’t fund it ! And while we are at it, since he lives in a house on federal land and has shut people out of their houses because they need the federal roads to get to them. Quit funding the White House and make him find someplace else to live, like he did to these people! Quit funding the White House! Close Camp David! Throw the bum out!

  • got my licence

    Obomma care is not about health care. It is all about NSA registration. Do not comply.

    • GiveMeLiberty,OrGiveMeDeath


    • http://www.thefreedomtrainusa.com/ FreedomTrainUSA

      Death Care…Is about Power and Control and DEATH…

  • Michael Shreve

    Government POWER stems from government CONTROL. The more “information” the government has on US the more control it has over US.

    • GiveMeLiberty,OrGiveMeDeath

      yes that is the facts.