Pew finds widespread support for the NSA’s program:
Josh Barro parses the poll:
One interesting aspect of these poll results is the partisan hypocrisy: Having a Democratic president has made Democrats more inclined toward surveillance and Republicans less so. But the more important finding is simply that public support for intrusive surveillance is high, under both Republican and Democratic presidents.
Allahpundit’s related thoughts:
I’m surprised anyone is surprised. What’s truly noteworthy about this poll, I think, is how many people felt comfortable telling a pollster that they support surveillance of phone records and e-mails. I figured every poll on this subject would be more in line with Rasmussen’s result this morning, in which 59 percent of likely voters said they oppose government collecting phone records. That’s the answer many people will sense they’re “supposed” to give when a stranger’s pressing them on their tolerance of governmental invasions of privacy. And yet here’s Pew finding 56 percent willing to tell them okay on phone records and 45 percent on e-mails. If that’s what people are willing to say out loud, how much more are they secretly willing to accept? And even if, somehow, those numbers accurately reflect opinion, how likely is it that significant policy changes will happen on a 50/50-ish issue? Not much to be happy about here if you’re a civil libertarian.
Alas, no. Unless you believe, as I do, that this kind of meta-data gathering is actually preferable to the traditional wire-tapping techniques as a first option and can get you information that minimizes the risk to innocent third parties. And I just want to say that this was not something I objected to under Bush either, when I objected to a lot. This is not partisan on my part.