July 10, 2013 - U.S. Voters Say Snowden Is Whistle-Blower, Not Traitor, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Big Shift On Civil Liberties vs. Counter-Terrorism
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American voters say 55 - 34 percent that Edward Snowden is a whistle-blower, rather than a traitor, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.

In a massive shift in attitudes, voters say 45 - 40 percent the government's anti-terrorism efforts go too far restricting civil liberties, a reversal from a January 14, 2010, survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University when voters said 63 - 25 percent that such activities didn't go far enough to adequately protect the country.

Almost every party, gender, income, education, age and income group regards Snowden as a whistle-blower rather than a traitor. The lone exception is black voters, with 43 percent calling him a traitor and 42 percent calling him a whistle-blower.

There is a gender gap on counter-terrorism efforts as men say 54 - 34 percent they have gone too far and women say 47 - 36 percent they have not gone far enough. There is little difference among Democrats and Republicans who are about evenly divided. Independent voters say 49 - 36 percent that counter-terrorism measures have gone too far.

Some of the largest growth in those concerned about the threat to civil liberties is among men and Republicans, groups historically more likely to be supportive of governmental anti- terrorism efforts.

"The massive swing in public opinion about civil liberties and governmental anti- terrorism efforts, and the public view that Edward Snowden is more whistle-blower than traitor are the public reaction and apparent shock at the extent to which the government has gone in trying to prevent future terrorist incidents," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"The fact that there is little difference now along party lines about the overall anti- terrorism effort and civil liberties and about Snowden is in itself unusual in a country sharply divided along political lines about almost everything. Moreover, the verdict that Snowden is not a traitor goes against almost the unified view of the nation's political establishment."

When Quinnipiac University asked voters in January, 2010, whether they thought the government had gone too far restricting civil liberties or not gone far enough to protect the country, not more than 35 percent of any demographic group thought it had gone too far. Then, Republicans said not far enough 72 - 17 percent; today GOP voters say not far enough 46 - 41 percent. Democrats went from not far enough 57 - 29 percent to too far 43 - 42 percent. Men went from 61 - 28 percent not far enough to 54 - 34 percent too far. Women went from 64 - 22 not far enough to 47 - 36 percent not far enough.

"The change in public attitudes has been extraordinary, almost across the board and obviously not just related to the revelation of the phone-scanning program, given all that has transpired since 2010," said Brown. "Yet it would be naive to see these numbers as anything but evidence of a rethinking by the public about the tradeoffs between security and freedom."

While voters support the phone-scanning program 51 - 45 percent and say 54 - 40 percent that it "is necessary to keep Americans safe," they also say 53 - 44 percent that the program "is too much intrusion into Americans' personal privacy."

"Americans' views on anti-terrorism efforts are complicated," said Brown. "They see the threat from terrorism as real and worth defending against, but they have a sense that their privacy is being invaded and they are not happy about it at all."

From June 28 - July 8, Quinnipiac University surveyed 2,014 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and the nation as a public service and for research.

For more information, visit http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

41. 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    Hsp
 
Gone too far         45%    41%    43%    49%    54%    36%    46%    35%    37%
Not gone far enough  40     46     42     36     34     47     39     52     54
DK/NA                15     13     15     15     12     17     15     12     10
 
                     WHITE..............................................
                     COLLEGE DEG                               BornAgnEv   Mltry
                     Yes    No     Prot   Cath   Men    Wom    Yes    No   HsHld
 
Gone too far         50%    44%    39%    44%    55%    37%    42%    45%    44%
Not gone far enough  34     41     46     42     33     45     43     41     43
DK/NA                16     15     15     14     12     18     15     14     12
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS..............
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-29  30-44  45-64  65+
 
Gone too far         48%    43%    43%    46%    50%    58%    52%    44%    32%
Not gone far enough  35     43     43     41     38     33     33     41     52
DK/NA                16     14     14     13     13      9     15     15     16
 
TREND: 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?
                     Jul 10  Jan 14
                     2013    2010
 
Gone too far         45      25
Not gone far enough  40      63
DK/NA                15      12
 
 
42. Do you support or oppose the federal government program in which all phone calls are scanned to see if any calls are going to a phone number linked to terrorism?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Support              51%    49%    58%    48%    48%    54%    51%    55%    55%
Oppose               45     45     37     50     49     41     45     40     40
DK/NA                 4      5      5      2      4      5      4      5      6
 
                     WHITE..............................................
                     COLLEGE DEG                               BornAgnEv   Mltry
                     Yes    No     Prot   Cath   Men    Wom    Yes    No   HsHld
 
Support              54%    49%    51%    57%    47%    55%    47%    54%    47%
Oppose               42     47     44     40     50     41     49     42     49
DK/NA                 4      4      5      2      3      5      4      4      4
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS..............
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-29  30-44  45-64  65+
 
Support              55%    49%    49%    51%    58%    47%    47%    54%    52%
Oppose               41     46     46     46     39     50     49     43     40
DK/NA                 4      5      5      3      3      3      4      4      7
 
 
43. Do you think this program is necessary to keep Americans safe or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Yes                  54%    55%    64%    48%    52%    57%    51%    66%    67%
No                   40     41     31     46     45     36     43     28     29
DK/NA                 5      4      6      5      3      7      5      5      4
 
                     WHITE..............................................
                     COLLEGE DEG                               BornAgnEv   Mltry
                     Yes    No     Prot   Cath   Men    Wom    Yes    No   HsHld
 
Yes                  50%    52%    55%    53%    49%    54%    49%    55%    53%
No                   45     42     40     41     47     39     46     39     42
DK/NA                 5      6      5      6      4      7      5      5      5
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS..............
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-29  30-44  45-64  65+
 
Yes                  53%    55%    56%    50%    57%    50%    48%    57%    60%
No                   43     39     38     47     39     46     51     36     33
DK/NA                 5      5      6      4      4      5      1      7      7
 
 
44. Do you think this program is too much intrusion into Americans' personal privacy or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Yes                  53%    56%    40%    60%    58%    47%    54%    47%    39%
No                   44     42     56     38     39     49     43     48     58
DK/NA                 3      2      4      2      2      4      3      6      3
 
                     WHITE..............................................
                     COLLEGE DEG                               BornAgnEv   Mltry
                     Yes    No     Prot   Cath   Men    Wom    Yes    No   HsHld
 
Yes                  52%    55%    55%    49%    60%    48%    61%    50%    57%
No                   44     42     42     49     38     48     37     48     39
DK/NA                 4      2      3      2      2      4      2      2      4
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS..............
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-29  30-44  45-64  65+
 
Yes                  50%    54%    51%    56%    47%    55%    58%    50%    50%
No                   45     44     45     41     50     42     40     47     45
DK/NA                 4      3      4      3      2      4      1      3      5
 
 
45. Do you regard Edward Snowden, the national security consultant who released information to the media about the phone scanning program, as more of a traitor, or more of a whistle-blower?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp
 
Traitor              34%    38%    39%    30%    34%    35%    33%    43%    37%
Whistle-blower       55     55     49     58     57     52     56     42     57
DK/NA                11      7     12     11      9     13     11     14      6
 
                     WHITE..............................................
                     COLLEGE DEG                               BornAgnEv   Mltry
                     Yes    No     Prot   Cath   Men    Wom    Yes    No   HsHld
 
Traitor              37%    31%    34%    41%    32%    34%    32%    35%    39%
Whistle-blower       53     57     54     51     58     53     57     55     49
DK/NA                 9     12     12      9      9     13     11     10     12
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS..............
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-29  30-44  45-64  65+
 
Traitor              38%    32%    31%    33%    42%    23%    29%    38%    39%
Whistle-blower       52     56     58     55     52     68     60     51     48
DK/NA                 9     12     11     12      6      8     11     11     13
 
 

Demographic Summary