January 14, 2010 - U.S. Voters Say Sacrifice Modesty, Rights For Security, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Support For Health Reform At 34 Percent

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American voters say 63 - 25 percent that the government's anti-terror policies lean too far toward protecting civil rights rather than national security and by 84 - 13 percent back greater use of airport body scanners opposed by privacy advocates because the machines scan a person's body through their clothing, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Support for the war in Afghanistan is up, at 59 - 35 percent, compared to 51 - 41 percent in a December 23 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University. But voters disagree with President Obama's plan to try suspected terrorists in civilian courts, saying 59 - 34 percent they should be tried in military courts. Voters approve 48 - 44 percent of Obama's handling of terror.

Public support for health care reform continues to decline, as 34 percent mostly approve, while 54 percent mostly disapprove, compared to 53 - 36 percent disapproval December 22.

While 44 percent think the proposed health care changes "go too far," 29 percent say they do not go "far enough" and 17 percent think the health care changes are "about right." The "not far enough" and "about right" total 46 percent. For the first time, voters trust congressional Republicans as much as President Obama on health care, 42 - 41 percent, compared to a 45 - 40 percent Obama edge December 22. Obama's "trust" margin July 1 was 53 - 33 percent.

"Support for President Barack Obama's health care reform continues to decline marginally and now only about one in three voters say they mostly approve of the pending legislation. Opposition seems mostly driven by those who think the plan under consideration is too ambitious. The whole health care issue showcases the Grand Canyon-like divide opened up among the electorate," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Consider this disparity; 68 percent of Democrats say they back the pending legislation, compared to 9 percent of Republicans and 26 percent of independents," Brown added.

Voters say 52 - 44 percent that law enforcement should be able to single out people who look Middle-Eastern for screening and questions, and by 79 - 16 percent they back the recent decision to subject air travelers from 14 designated countries - most of them nations with large Muslim populations - to extra screening.

"The failed Christmas Day attempt to blow up a flight into Detroit has the American people security conscious. They are more supportive of the Afghan war; they think the government is worrying too much about civil liberties and not enough about security, and they overwhelmingly favor the use of body scanners on air travelers. Apparently, personal safety overrides concerns about modesty," said Brown. "In addition voters don't want Guantanamo closed; they don't want terrorists tried in civilian courts and they back singling out those who look Middle Eastern or travelers from some heavily Muslim nations for extra scrutiny."

On the question about whether the government was leaning too far toward civil liberties or national security in its policies, there was relatively small difference by political party: 72 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independent voters say government hasn't done enough to safeguard the country.

Yet on questions that involve decisions made by the Obama administration, the partisan split was much more noticeable. Only 12 percent of Republicans and 24 percent of independents want Guantanamo closed compared to 51 percent of Democrats. Similarly, 20 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of independents want terrorists tried in civilian courts, compared to 50 percent of Democrats.

On other terrorism-related questions:
  • More than three out of four say it is very likely (35 percent) or somewhat likely (43 percent) that in the near future there will be a terrorist attack in the United States with a large number of casualties;
  • Americans say 86 - 11 percent they would support new airport security measures even if it means longer delays in air travel.
From January 5 - 11, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,767 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 2.3 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

10. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling terrorism?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              48%    24%    74%    47%    46%    49%    43%    73%
Disapprove           44     69     17     45     47     41     49     20
DK/NA                 8      6      9      8      6     10      7      6
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Approve              58%    44%    44%    49%    46%    48%    73%    58%    24%
Disapprove           34     50     45     40     48     47     17     34     70
DK/NA                 8      6     10     11      6      5      9      9      6
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Approve              48%    48%    33%    39%    38%
Disapprove           43     46     58     54     55
DK/NA                 9      6      9      7      7
 
 
25. Who do you trust to do a better job handling health care - President Obama or the Republicans in Congress?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Obama                42%    10%    81%    37%    40%    43%    33%    84%
Reps in Congress     41     75     12     39     42     40     48      9
DK/NA                18     15      7     25     18     17     19      7
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Obama                50%    39%    39%    44%    39%    42%    74%    48%    18%
Reps in Congress     38     44     39     38     46     43     17     29     67
DK/NA                12     17     22     18     15     15      9     22     15
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Obama                41%    44%    19%    25%    33%
Reps in Congress     41     41     60     54     49
DK/NA                19     14     22     21     18
 
TREND: Who do you trust to do a better job handling health care - President Obama or the Republicans in Congress?
                     Jan 14  Dec 22  Dec 9   Nov 19  Oct 8   Aug 5   July 1
                     2010    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009
 
President Obama      42      45      44      45      47      46      53
Reps in Congress     41      40      37      36      31      37      33
DK/NA                18      16      19      19      21      16      14
 
 
26. From what you've heard or read, do you mostly approve or mostly disapprove of the proposed changes to the health care system under consideration in Congress?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Mostly approve       34%     9%    68%    26%    31%    36%    26%    70%
Mostly disapprove    54     84     19     59     58     51     63     19
DK/NA                12      7     13     15     11     13     12     11
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Mostly approve       39%    33%    31%    36%    31%    33%    56%    38%    16%
Mostly disapprove    47     58     55     48     64     59     28     49     77
DK/NA                14      9     15     16      5      8     16     13      7
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Mostly approve       32%    38%    15%    20%    29%
Mostly disapprove    54     55     73     67     62
DK/NA                14      7     11     13      8
 
TREND: From what you've heard or read, do you mostly approve or mostly disapprove of the proposed changes to the health care system under consideration in Congress?
                     Jan 14  Dec 22  Dec 9
                     2010    2009    2009
 
Mostly approve       34      36      38
Mostly disapprove    54      53      52
DK/NA                12      11      10
 
 
27. Generally speaking, do you think the proposed changes to the health care system under consideration in Congress go too far, not far enough, or are they about right?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Too far              44%    69%    16%    44%    45%    42%    50%    20%
Not far enough       29     14     41     33     31     27     25     38
About right          17      6     33     14     15     19     14     37
DK/NA                10     10     10      9      9     11     10      5
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Too far              38%    47%    44%    39%    50%    51%    19%    37%    65%
Not far enough       33     28     28     30     30     25     44     33     17
About right          22     15     17     19     12     17     28     20      9
DK/NA                 7     10     12     12      7      6      9     10      9
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn               STAND ON HC PLAN Q26
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   App    Dis
 
Too far              42%    48%    62%    56%    51%     7%    74%
Not far enough       28     31     18     22     21     45     19
About right          18     15     11     12     20     43      2
DK/NA                11      6      9     10      8      5      5
 
 
28. Do you support or oppose giving people the option of being covered by a government health insurance plan that would compete with private plans?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Support              59%    34%    82%    61%    56%    62%    54%    78%
Oppose               35     59     12     34     40     31     41     15
DK/NA                 6      7      5      5      4      7      5      7
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Support              68%    59%    53%    62%    57%    57%    85%    69%    35%
Oppose               31     36     39     32     38     41     11     26     59
DK/NA                 1      5      8      5      5      2      4      5      6
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Support              59%    59%    45%    49%    53%
Oppose               35     37     51     46     40
DK/NA                 6      4      4      6      7
 
TREND: Do you support or oppose giving people the option of being covered by a government health insurance plan that would compete with private plans?
                     Jan 14  Dec 22  Dec 9   Nov 19  Oct 8   Aug 5   July 1
                     2010    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Support              59      56      56      57      61      62      69
Oppose               35      38      38      35      34      32      26
DK/NA                 6       6       6       8       6       6       5
 
 
29. Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases or illegal in all cases?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Legal all cases      18%     8%    25%    20%    15%    21%    17%    24%
Legal most cases     34     25     45     36     36     33     33     37
Illegal most cases   24     34     15     23     26     22     26     21
Illegal all cases    18     29     11     15     17     20     19     17
DK/NA                 5      4      4      5      5      4      5      1
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Legal all cases      19%    21%    14%    17%    19%    21%    32%    21%     8%
Legal most cases     34     38     30     32     37     43     45     42     23
Illegal most cases   24     23     27     25     25     23     13     22     33
Illegal all cases    20     14     22     22     14     11      7      9     33
DK/NA                 3      4      6      4      5      2      3      6      4
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Legal all cases      17%    22%     8%    13%    15%
Legal most cases     35     34     18     29     35
Illegal most cases   23     27     36     30     27
Illegal all cases    20     13     34     23     20
DK/NA                 5      4      3      6      4
 
TREND: Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases or illegal in all cases? (*Combined high also 57% Aug 2007, Dec 2005, Jul 2005, & Dec 2004 /**Combined low also 52% May 2009)
                                                             COMBINED LEGAL
                                                             ALL & MOST CASES
                                                             High    Low
                     Jan 14  May 14  Jul 17  Aug 16  May 3   Jul 17  Jan 14
                     2010    2009    2008    2007    2007    2008*   2010**
 
Legal all cases      18      15      19      21      17      19      18
Legal most cases     34      37      38      36      37      38      34
Illegal most cases   24      27      24      24      26      24      24
Illegal all cases    18      14      14      13      13      14      18
DK/NA                 5       7       5       6       7       5       5
 
 
30. Do you support or oppose allowing abortions to be paid for by public funds under a health care reform bill?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Support              27%    10%    47%    26%    29%    26%    24%    41%
Oppose               67     87     47     67     65     68     70     52
DK/NA                 6      3      7      7      6      6      6      8
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Support              30%    26%    26%    26%    28%    33%    53%    30%    12%
Oppose               64     69     67     68     68     64     40     64     85
DK/NA                 5      5      7      6      4      3      7      7      3
 
                                   WHITE.............   STAND ON ABORTION Q29
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn               COMBINED ALL&MOST CASES
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Legal  Illegal
 
Support              25%    34%    11%    19%    23%    45%     7%
Oppose               69     61     86     75     71     49     90
DK/NA                 6      4      3      5      6      6      3
 
TREND: Do you support or oppose allowing abortions to be paid for by public funds under a health care reform bill?
                     Jan 14  Dec 22
                     2010    2009
 
Support              27      23
Oppose               67      72
DK/NA                 6       5
 
 
31. Do you think the U.S. is doing the right thing by fighting the war in Afghanistan now, or should the U.S. not be involved in Afghanistan now?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Right thing          59%    74%    49%    58%    67%    52%    63%    42%
Shouldn't be inv     35     20     43     37     29     40     31     56
DK/NA                 6      6      8      6      5      8      7      3
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Right thing          57%    59%    59%    52%    67%    69%    48%    60%    66%
Shouldn't be inv     40     35     32     42     27     27     47     34     28
DK/NA                 3      5      9      6      5      4      5      6      6
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Right thing          57%    65%    65%    67%    60%
Shouldn't be inv     37     29     27     25     35
DK/NA                 7      6      8      7      5
 
TREND: Do you think the U.S. is doing the right thing by fighting the war in Afghanistan now, or should the U.S. not be involved in Afghanistan now?
                     Jan 14  Dec 23  Dec 8   Nov 18  Oct 7
                     2010    2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Right thing          59      51      57      48      52
Shouldn't be inv     35      41      35      41      37
DK/NA                 6       8       8      11      11
 
 
32. How likely do you think it is that in the near future there will be a terrorist attack in the United States causing large numbers of lives to be lost? Very likely, somewhat likely, not very likely, or not likely at all?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Very likely          35%    44%    23%    36%    35%    35%    36%    29%
Smwht likely         43     42     43     46     39     47     44     43
Not very likely      16     11     25     12     19     12     15     18
Not likely at all     4      2      6      3      4      3      3      5
DK/NA                 2      2      3      3      2      3      2      5
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Very likely          23%    37%    42%    34%    36%    32%    18%    31%    49%
Smwht likely         43     45     42     44     44     45     46     46     40
Not very likely      27     13     11     16     17     19     30     17      7
Not likely at all     5      3      3      4      2      3      5      4      2
DK/NA                 2      1      3      2      2      1      2      2      3
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Very likely          38%    28%    43%    39%    38%
Smwht likely         43     45     42     47     38
Not very likely      14     21     11     10     19
Not likely at all     3      4      2      2      2
DK/NA                 3      2      2      1      3
 
TREND: How likely do you think it is that in the near future there will be a terrorist attack in the United States causing large numbers of lives to be lost? Very likely, somewhat likely, not very likely, or not likely at all?
                     Jan 14  Jul 28  May 5   Feb 21  Dec 10
                     2010    2005    2004    2002    2001
 
Very likely          35      40      26      31      31
Somewhat likely      43      45      50      49      43
Not very likely      16      10      16      14      17
Not likely at all     4       4       5       3       7
DK/NA                 2       1       3       4       3
 
 
33. When it comes to dealing with people suspected of involvement in terrorist attacks against the United States, which would you prefer: trying them in open criminal court with a jury and a civilian judge or trying them in a closed military court with a military judge?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Criminal court       34%    20%    50%    31%    31%    37%    32%    39%
Military court       59     76     42     62     64     55     62     53
DK/NA                 7      4      8      7      5      8      6      7
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Criminal court       36%    36%    31%    39%    31%    31%    53%    35%    21%
Military court       58     59     61     54     65     63     36     58     75
DK/NA                 6      6      8      7      5      6     10      6      4
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Criminal court       35%    32%    25%    25%    30%
Military court       58     62     70     68     65
DK/NA                 7      7      6      7      5
 
 
34. Should president Obama close the Guantanamo Bay prison?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  28%    12%    51%    24%    27%    29%    25%    46%
No                   60     81     35     64     68     54     65     39
DK/NA                11      7     14     12      5     17     10     14
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Yes                  32%    26%    29%    30%    27%    30%    52%    30%    13%
No                   55     64     61     56     67     62     36     59     78
DK/NA                12     10     11     14      6      8     12     11      9
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Yes                  26%    36%    13%    19%    26%
No                   62     57     76     69     68
DK/NA                12      8     11     12      6
 
TREND: Should President Obama close the Guantanamo Bay prison?
                     Jan 14  Nov 12
                     2010    2008
 
Yes                  28      29
No                   60      44
DK/NA                11      27
 
 
35. What concerns you more about the government's anti-terrorism policies - that they have gone too far in restricting the average person's civil liberties or that they have not gone far enough to adequately protect the country?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Gone too far         25%    17%    29%    28%    28%    22%    23%    34%
Not gone far enough  63     72     57     60     61     64     65     59
DK/NA                12     10     14     12     11     13     12      8
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Gone too far         35%    25%    17%    28%    23%    25%    35%    22%    21%
Not gone far enough  53     64     70     60     67     65     50     65     69
DK/NA                13     11     12     13     10     10     15     12     10
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Gone too far         25%    25%    20%    18%    19%
Not gone far enough  64     61     69     70     71
DK/NA                11     14     11     12     11
 
 
36. In order to prevent terrorism, would you support or oppose new airport security measures, even if they might cause longer delays in air travel?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Support              86%    92%    86%    83%    83%    89%    86%    85%
Oppose               11      6     11     13     14      8     11     13
DK/NA                 3      2      2      4      3      3      3      1
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Support              80%    88%    88%    87%    87%    84%    86%    89%    86%
Oppose               18      9      8     11     11     14     12     10     10
DK/NA                 1      3      4      3      3      2      2      1      4
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Support              88%    82%    91%    90%    87%
Oppose               10     14      7      7     11
DK/NA                 3      3      3      4      2
 
 
37. In order to prevent terrorism, should there be greater use of body scanners at airports - which allows screeners to scan a person's body through their clothing?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  84%    88%    86%    80%    85%    84%    85%    81%
No                   13      9     13     17     13     13     12     19
DK/NA                 3      3      1      3      2      3      3      -
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Yes                  80%    86%    87%    86%    84%    85%    81%    85%    85%
No                   19     12      9     11     14     14     17     13     11
DK/NA                 1      2      4      3      3      1      2      2      4
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Yes                  86%    80%    88%    86%    86%
No                   12     16      9     10     10
DK/NA                 2      4      3      3      4
 
 
38. In order to prevent terrorism at places like airports and subways, should authorities be able to single out people who look like they might be of Middle Eastern origin to search or question?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  52%    67%    39%    53%    57%    48%    58%    33%
No                   44     31     57     43     40     47     38     66
DK/NA                 4      2      3      4      2      5      3      1
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Yes                  35%    55%    65%    48%    58%    59%    33%    49%    69%
No                   63     43     30     48     41     38     64     48     29
DK/NA                 2      2      5      4      1      3      4      4      3
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Yes                  53%    51%    62%    62%    65%
No                   44     45     35     34     30
DK/NA                 3      4      3      4      5
 
TREND: In order to prevent terrorism at places like airports and subways, should authorities be able to single out people who look like they might be of Middle Eastern origin to search or question?
                     Jan 14  Aug 29
                     2010    2006
 
Yes                  52      60
No                   44      37
DK/NA                 4       4
 
 
39. As you may know, the Transportation Security Administration recently announced a new policy to require extra screening of all air travelers who are citizens of 14 designated countries, 13 of which are largely Muslim. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Good idea            79%    89%    71%    79%    81%    77%    83%    66%
Bad idea             16      8     22     17     15     16     13     27
DK/NA                 5      3      7      4      4      6      4      7
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Good idea            67%    83%    86%    76%    82%    87%    66%    78%    89%
Bad idea             29     13      9     19     13     11     27     18      7
DK/NA                 4      5      5      4      5      2      6      4      3
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath
 
Good idea            80%    78%    84%    86%    89%
Bad idea             15     17     12      9      8
DK/NA                 5      5      4      5      3