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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 1:19pm

    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.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 1:26pm

    (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.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 1:48pm

    Labeling Labels

    Damn those labels are pernicious. First they set up brand new pseudo labels to relabel past labelings. Then ask questions in such a way that ones viewpoint could change depending on who is in office, reiterating the delabeled labels?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Labeling Labels

    Whoops, that was me.

     

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  5.  
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    mcinsand, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 1:53pm

    anarchist/totalitarian spectrum

    >>That spectrum is completely wrong when asking a question
    >>that has more to do with where on the anarchist/totalitarian
    >>spectrum a person is.

    Wow! That's the most insightful thing I've read in a while. The main difference between far right and far left is the totalitarians that they want in charge!

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 1:57pm

    no, it was me

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 1:58pm

    no. it was me

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 1:58pm

    Given these numbers

    Why is our senate intelligence committee made up of 13% of people who are skeptical of government surveillance and 87% or people who want more?

    Who shuffled that deck?

     

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  9.  
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    aricthered (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Given these numbers

    The deck has not been shuffled in a long time, It looks more like it is stacked!

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Given these numbers

    "Senate Intelligence"? Isn't that a misnomer?

     

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  11.  
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    john (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re: Given these numbers

    the varmints are dealing from the bottom of the deck

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 2:24pm

    Re: Given these numbers

    Its like this, most politicians have skeletons in their cupboard, and the spies know about them.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 2:38pm

    The one entity claiming to fight terrorism has replaced who the terrorists are in the process of that fighting. Today I fear my government more than the terrorists.

     

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  14.  
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    Ben (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 2:40pm

    Self-identified?

    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.

     

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  15.  
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    Ben (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Given these numbers

    No, an oxymoron.

     

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  16.  
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    David, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 2:54pm

    "Well, I trust Eric Holder"

    That's not "pure partisan faith". That's throwing good faith after bad faith after the games he has been playing on Congress.

    "He must be finished wiping his ass with the Constitution since he cannot still be full of it"? You wish.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Self-identified?

    "Do you believe in guns as a form of birth control?"

    Made me laugh but then I thought about it. In the hands of women, you know, I really might say yes. That might be easier and more foolproof than pretending to have a headache & take pills.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 4:04pm

    So the hundred or so of us that are skeptical of government surveillance are split down political lines? Great. What are we supposed to do about the rest of the voters who couldn't care less?

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 6:53pm

    Btw, pew polls are notoriously inaccurate with judging the political views of the nation. Many of those numbers in either side could be soft responses which in aggregate could change the entire total.

     

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  20.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 8th, 2014 @ 3:28am

    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....

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2014 @ 4:57am

    Oh God. Eric Holder? I mean I can see how some people would still be fooled by Obama, but Eric god damn Holder? Are you kidding me?

    That guy must've been just a troll or some undercover agent. Nobody can be that stupid.

     

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  22.  
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    TestPilotDummy, Jul 8th, 2014 @ 9:21am

    polls... You mean like G... who give ya money?

    polls are psychological tools.

    Psychiatry is false science, at same time political weapon, and being used by obamacare/FRAUD/COUP to target firearms owners


    marblecakealsothegame

    PERIOD.

     

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  23.  
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    toyotabedzrock (profile), Jul 8th, 2014 @ 12:47pm

    What is faith and family left and next gen left? Its like they sliced up the left into small categories so they could have some group that approves of the NSA, because they want to project the idea that those in power trust their own spying?

    And when has faith and family ever been attached to the left?

     

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  24.  
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    Reality bites, Jul 8th, 2014 @ 2:57pm

    More evil is perpetrated by those in authority than those under it.

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

    There isn't a legit employee in the entire federal cesspool, it is just a huge black hole of suck.

     

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  25.  
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    GEMont, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 4:28pm

    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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  26.  
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    Fred Goodwin, Jul 30th, 2014 @ 11:06am

    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.
    http://www.people-press.org/2014/06/26/typology-comparison/types/solid-liberals/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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