Latest Survey Shows People Across The Political Spectrum Are Skeptical Of Government Surveillance

from the and-yet-it's-still-there dept

It would appear that the government’s attempts to convince the public that giving up their privacy for the good of national security isn’t going so well. The latest numbers from the Pew Research Center show pretty broad consensus that it’s not right to diminish privacy rights in order to fight terrorism, and this was true across the political spectrum.

Meanwhile, when it comes directly to the question of NSA surveillance, the research shows many on both sides of the traditional political aisle are against the NSA’s practices:
The various groupings seem a bit suspect to me (and I generally find “left/right” political spectrum analyzing to be a distraction), but it’s still interesting. Given the details of how the groups are made up, it seems likely that many steadfast conservatives and the next generation left might flip the positions above if there were a Republican President, but it does seem notable and important that the solid liberals are now against NSA surveillance as well.

The partisan nature of views on surveillance has been a bit depressing — because you see the very same people who hated the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping under George W. Bush suddenly change their tune under Barack Obama — and vice versa (I even had a bizarre Twitter debate with someone who dismissed all facts by saying “Well, I trust Eric Holder,” which seemed like the ultimate in pure partisan faith). But it’s good to see that plenty of people are ignoring the partisan pull (and whatever attempts there are by the NSA’s defenders to “educate” the public) and are flat out recognizing how problematic these programs are.

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Comments on “Latest Survey Shows People Across The Political Spectrum Are Skeptical Of Government Surveillance”

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Anonymous Coward says:

how can anyone think for a second that it’s better to live under terrorists, no freedom, no privacy, nothing, every single thing scrutinised, never knowing when the truck is going to arrive to cart you away for doing perhaps nothing, perhaps a single minuscule thing that harmed no one, just because of a mistake? i wouldn’t want that! and when your own government is using measures, trying to stop terrorists but making life as bad, if not worse. all that happens is the governments become terrorists themselves. it’s a life not worth living.

Anonymous Coward says:

(and I generally find “left/right” political spectrum analyzing to be a distraction)

That spectrum is completely wrong when asking a question that has more to do with where on the anarchist/totalitarian spectrum a person is. The question is in effect a question of how much control a government should exercise over the life of its citizen. The conclusion I draw from these results is that the government is more totalitarian than the people like.

Ben (profile) says:


Were the leanings of the individuals self-identified (“Do you consider yourself a steadfast conservative?”) or did they ferret that result from a spectrum of other questions (maybe starting with which party do they most identify with and maybe ending with questions on gun control and birth control — or maybe both: “Do you believe in guns as a form of birth control?”)?

I have no clue what some of those labels mean (having never heard of them before) and if there weren’t nicely colored dots next to them to indicate what political bent they indicate, I wouldn’t have known. Asking “Do you consider yourself a ‘Young Outsider’?” would have left me stumped as to who that was supposed to be.

Fred Goodwin (profile) says:

Re: Self-identified?

The categories are defined in the original report. Here for example is the definition of “Solid Liberal”:

Highly educated and affluent, Solid Liberals strongly support the social safety net and take very liberal positions on virtually all issues. Most say they always vote Democratic and they are unflagging supporters of Barack Obama. Solid Liberals are very optimistic about the nation’s future and are the most likely to say that America’s success is linked to its ability to change, rather than its reliance on long-standing principles. On foreign policy, Solid Liberals overwhelmingly believe that good diplomacy – rather than military strength – is the best way to ensure peace.

Ninja (profile) says:

It’s amusing how people need to boil everything down to the “us vs them” mentality. If you look past this into common wellbeing, collective thinking you will see that none of this partisan bullshit matters. I want fiscal responsibility, less corruption, social wellbeing, health etc for everybody much like everybody else, be them Republicans, Democrats, Pirates, Greens….

GEMont (profile) says:

But Why...

“The federal government should be dismantled and rebuilt, the foundations are rotten to the core.”

Errrr… I can agree readily enough with the first half, but why on earth would you want to rebuild it??

Its an institution designed to fail. As long as it keeps failing, it remains intact and healthy. Its only real job is to keep Americans poor enough that they will keep on working for the billionaires for subsistence level pay.

Just hire a few dozen college kids and give them some good computers and pay them each 500 bux a week, and I’m certain they can do a far greater job than any gang of millionaire fascists could ever do. Offer them large bonus paychecks at the end of their term if they accomplish good things.

Hell, two 10 year olds and a Win 8 laptop would do a better job than the last 10 (s)elected administrations have done.

Let the millionaires back in and you’ll just get a brand new cesspool of suck in a couple weeks. I mean hell, if you think that those billionaires gathered that much money together by caring about the world and its people, then you deserve what you get.

Remember, George Dubya Bush proved to the American People that the USA runs just fine for nearly a decade with no federal government at all. In fact he proved that the USA runs just fine even when there’s a gang of thieves and cut throats sitting in the offal orifice doing their level best to steal the treasuries of three countries at once.

And the money saved, not having to pay billionaires to party hardy and snort coke with 1000 dollar an hour hookers on multi-million dollar yachts 4 days a week, could end poverty in the US over night. Although I suppose the 1000 dollar a night hookers might honestly complain about the lack of liquid cash and sugar-daddy love.

If a machine does not work, trash it and build a machine that works. The Federal Government is obsolete and useless and costs Americans both a fortune in upkeep and their reputation world wide.

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