Newsweek Poll Rebuts Post Poll: Majority Opposed To NSA Data Mining
Those of you who cautioned against my too-quick judgment on public opinion surrounding the latest NSA spying revelations are proven correct today. Many of you commented that it was too soon to draw conclusions about public support for the data mining program from a too-quick and poorly-worded poll by the Post’s Richard Morin. A new Newsweek poll out this morning validates your caution.
Has the Bush administration gone too far in expanding the powers of the President to fight terrorism? Yes, say a majority of Americans, following this week’s revelation that the National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone records of U.S. citizens since the September 11 terrorist attacks. According to the latest NEWSWEEK poll, 53 percent of Americans think the NSA’s surveillance program "goes too far in invading people’s privacy," while 41 percent see it as a necessary tool to combat terrorism.
..Americans think the White House has overstepped its bounds: 57 percent said that in light of the NSA data-mining news and other executive actions, the Bush-Cheney Administration has "gone too far in expanding presidential power." That compares to 38 percent who think the Administration’s actions are appropriate.
According to the Newsweek poll, 73 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of Republicans think the NSA’s program is overly intrusive.
This is a far cry from the 45 percent Democratic support that Morin reported in his poll of Friday. The major differences in this poll, as many of you suggested, are question wording, and that the poll was done through yesterday, after respondents had more than a day to digest the reaction from across the political spectrum to the data mining operation.
This poll had some very sobering news in it for the GOP this fall, and again in 2008:
Seventy-one percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country, and more than half—52 percent—say they would like the Democrats to win enough seats to take over Congress this November (only 35 percent want the Republicans to keep control). Looking ahead to the presidential race in 2008, more Americans said they would like to see a Democrat elected than a Republican—50 percent versus 31 percent. That, despite the fact that a majority of those polled don’t believe a Democrat would do any better than Bush is doing on a variety of issues. Democrats also have a significant lead in being perceived as better able to bring about the changes the country needs: 53 percent to 30 percent.
I would like to believe that the Beltway Democrats would make an issue of the erosion of personal liberties and privacy, and the expansion of unchecked executive power, and withstand the expected bombast from Rove and the Mighty Wurlitzer about being treasonous weaklings on terror and national security. But after watching these guys cave and demonstrate no message discipline and effectiveness numerous times, and seeing how it appears that Reid and Pelosi want November to be tomorrow so that they can back their way into new majorities in the Congress without taking chances and doing the right thing, I just don't have the hope that others do for Democrats to make this a key issue for the fall. I hope that I am proven wrong.