Americans support NSA program? Not so fast

Weekend polling shows majority opposition to -- and widespread concern about -- telephone database.

Tim Grieve
May 15, 2006 6:25PM (UTC)

When a Washington Post/ABC News poll found last week that 63 percent of Americans approved of the NSA's collection of information about virtually every telephone call made in America, we were so skeptical that we didn't even pass it along. Maybe we were guilty of thinking "from the gut," but the poll seemed to be taken too soon to provide an accurate read on public opinion, and its results didn't square with what we know -- or, at least, what we think we know -- about the importance Americans place on their privacy.

It seems that we were right. A new USA Today/Gallup poll taken over the weekend has 51 percent of Americans disapproving of the NSA program and 62 percent saying that Congress should hold hearings immediately. A Newsweek poll comes up with a similar result; in it, 53 percent of Americans say they think the NSA "goes too far in invading people's privacy."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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