New Poll Finds Mixed Support for Wiretaps. Sort of. When you ask if people approve of the program, only 46% approve, but when you specifically ask if they support warrantless wiretaps to prevent terrorism, 53% approve (the sample was split, half the respondents got one version of the question, half got the other version). The article continues:
In one striking finding, respondents overwhelmingly supported e‑mail and telephone monitoring directed at “Americans that the government is suspicious of;” they overwhelmingly opposed the same kind of surveillance if it was aimed at “ordinary Americans.”
As CBS News explains in their breakdown of the same poll:
The public has some confidence that the government can correctly tell the difference between whose phone calls ought to be monitored and whose should not. Few, however, express a great deal of confidence.
43% have no confidence or not much, 45% have some, a mere 10% have a great deal of confidence.
Support for the program among Democrats and Independents is almost equally low, and mentioning terrorism has almost no impact on independents, implying that this is not a strong wedge issue for Republicans. Support for the program among Independents is a little over 40%, support among Democrats is in the mid-30s, while about 85% of Republicans support the program when you mention terrorism.
Matt Nisbet has some pretty graphs.