There was also a question about what's "more important right now" — "for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy" or "for the federal government not to intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate possible terrorist threats." In the new poll, 62% favored investigations and only 34% said privacy. The partisan skewing here is fascinating:
Sixty-nine percent of Democrats say terrorism investigations, not privacy, should be the government’s main concern, an 18-percentage-point jump from early January 2006... Compared with that time, Republicans’ focus on privacy has increased 22 points.
The reversal on the NSA’s practices is even more dramatic. In early 2006, 37 percent of Democrats found the agency’s activities acceptable; now nearly twice that number — 64 percent — say the use of telephone records is okay. By contrast, Republicans slumped from 75 percent acceptable to 52 percent today.
Compared with a 2002 Pew poll, Democrats are now 12 percentage points more apt to support the government’s monitoring of all e-mails and other online activity if officials say that it might help prevent terrorist attacks. On the flip side, the number of Republicans who say the government should not do this has increased by 13 points.That reminds me of the poll I took on June 7th, based on my observation that "The NSA data collection program separates the partisans from the ideologues, now that the President is a Democrat":
Maybe there's an algorithm that can get us to what Americans really think of privacy and security, without the filter of partisanship, but I'm afraid there is no such real thinking. It's all, always, inside the filter, even the desire to present oneself as ideologically consistent.