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The Q poll released today regarding the NSA surveillance programs has an ostensibly confusing set of findings. This recc'd diary highlights:

In a massive shift in attitudes, voters say 45 - 40 percent the government's anti-terrorism efforts go too far restricting civil liberties, a reversal from a January 10, 2010, survey by the independent Quinnipiac University when voters said 63 - 25 percent that such activities didn't go far enough to adequately protect the country.
One point to make is that this finding is NOT specifically about the NSA, though certainly the NSA is likely to be uppermost in respondents' minds. Now for the apparently conflicting result, as described by commenter:
54-40% of the same survey think the NSA program is necessary to keep Americans safe. 45-40% of the same survey say the NSA goes too far. This poll is indicative of hypocrisy more than anything.  [Emphasis supplied.]
Is this correct? Let's look at the finding:
42. Do you support or oppose the federal government program in which all phone calls are scanned to see if any calls are going to a phone number linked to terrorism? [...] 43. Do you think this program is necessary to keep Americans safe or not? [I present both questions in sequence but just the results for 43.]

Yes - 54. No 40.

I have two reactions to these questions and results. First, is there a "federal government program in which all phone calls are scanned to see if any calls are going to a phone number linked to terrorism? The answer is no. The question provides a disastrously bad attempt to describe the Section 215 program that was the subject of a leaked FISA court order. That order does not describe any such program and the order provides that ALL phone records (to be clear, not the content of the calls themselves) are turned over to the NSA. Whether they "are scanned to see if calls are going to a phone number linked to terrorism" is sheer unadulterated speculation.

Thus, when question 43 is asked -  "Do you think this program is necessary to keep Americans safe or not?" it assumes facts not in evidence.

So does this finding evidence "54-40% of the same survey think the NSA program is necessary to keep Americans safe[?]" No. No it does not. Because the poll does not ask that question.

BTW, the Section 702 programs are not asked about at all.

Bottom line - issue polling is almost always inherently suspect and requiring of careful consideration of phrasing. Here we see Q made a complete mash of it.

I'm not sure any of these findings are worth a hill of beans.

Yes, almost all polls suck.

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