July 13, 2013

In Blog

Poll: Most Americans call Snowden a whistle-blower, not a traitor

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a U.S. defence contractor, is interviewed by The Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong
NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a U.S. defense contractor, is seen in this still image

For most Americans, Edward Snowden is not a traitor; he’s a whistle-blower.

In a Quinnipiac University poll released this week, a majority of respondents — 55 percent — say Snowden, the computer analyst who leaked top-secret National Security Agency documents, is a whistle-blower. Just 34 percent sided with numerous members of Congress calling Snowden’s actions treasonous.

The poll also shows a marked shift in the public’s view on civil liberties and national security. A plurality of respondents—45 percent—say the government’s anti-terrorism policies go too far in restricting civil liberties, while 40 percent say they do not. In January 2010, the same poll showed that only 25 percent said these policies go too far.

But the poll also suggests many Americans remain highly conflicted on matters of national security. While 51 percent of respondents support the NSA’s collection of phone data, 54 percent say the program “is too much intrusion into Americans’ personal privacy.”