Poll: Slim Majority of Americans Think the Government Should be able to Look at Smartphone Data to Fight Terrorism
Nearly half of Americans support the U.S. Government's position to be able to look at smartphone data in cases related to terrorism. It's the one poll that shows Republicans and Democrats agreeing to something in principle. The new poll presented by Reuters shows that 46% agree to 42% that disagree. That small margin of difference is where the PR battle rests today. This is why we're seeing both sides trying to score daily PR points with endorsements of one kind or another or with new argument angles.
The report quotes Mike Kostrzewa, a 69-year-old retiree from Fairfax, Virginia as saying that "If a person has nothing to hide, there is no reason they should be afraid of the government looking at specific content with a warrant."
Yet Reuters notes that "Younger Americans are more likely than older Americans to agree with Apple's stand. Of those between 18 and 39 years old, 64 percent agreed with the company's decision to oppose the court order. That is nearly twice the percentage of older people who are supporting Apple."
The poll results reflect a deep sense of skepticism among Americans about the security of their information, said Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson, adding that "There is this tension: Americans want terrorists to be prosecuted, but in the context of issues about security and privacy, it becomes a much more nuanced discussion."
The online survey was conducted Feb. 19 to 23 with more than 1,500 U.S. adults, as Apple and the government made public statements to sway public opinion in the high-stakes case. It has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points for all respondents.
What was interesting about the poll was that it was based on two questions. In the first poll result noted above, the Republicans and Democrats almost saw eye-to-eye on the issue.
Yet when the question directly slams into the debate concerning Apple specifically, the results appear to slightly swing the other way to somewhat favor Apple. It's also where we clearly see the split between Republicans and Democrats. The same issue asked two different ways yields an interesting dichotomy.
For more on this interesting Reuters report covering the Ipsos poll results click here. If you're siding with Apple on this issue, then you'll definitely want to check out the Reuters report that delves further into the second poll result noted above.