November 13, 2013

Homeland Security is viewed favorably by Americans ahead of Jeh Johnson’s hearing

66%

About two-thirds of Americans have a positive view of the Department of Homeland Security.

A Senate committee takes up President Obama’s nomination of Jeh Johnson today to succeed Janet Napolitano as secretary of Homeland Security. While GOP lawmakers have questioned Johnson’s lack of expertise in some areas as well as his past role as a fundraiser for Obama, there’s at least one thing most Republicans and Democrats have in common: majorities have a favorable opinion of the agency Johnson was named to lead.

Overall, 66% of Americans have a positive view of Homeland Security, which ranks it behind the Center for Disease Control, NASA, the Defense Department and the Veterans’ Administration, according to a survey last month. (The agency with the worst public image is the Internal Revenue Service which is seen unfavorably by 51%).

The favorable opinion of the agency created after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks extends across partisan lines, although Republicans are about 14 percentage points less enthusiastic about it than Democrats. About six-in-ten (62%) of Republicans, 76% of Democrats and 60% of independents see the department favorably.

Homeland had fared less well in a survey conducted March 2010. Just 43% said at the time it was doing a good or excellent job, while 53% rated its efforts only fair or poor.

A key responsibility of the department, which started as the White House Office of Homeland Security and was elevated to cabinet status in 2003, is to protect against terrorism on domestic soil.

Americans have mixed views about how much government can do to prevent attacks. A survey conducted in April after the bombings at the Boston marathon found that while 60% of the public believed steps taken by the government as a whole had made the country safer from terrorism, a smaller number (49%) said there was more the government could do to prevent such attacks while 46% said there was not much more it could do. The April survey did not ask specifically about Homeland Security.

Category: Daily Number

Topics: Federal Government

  1. Photo of Bruce Drake

    is a Senior Editor at the Pew Research Center.

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2 Comments

  1. Matthew Dukarski10 months ago

    Your about page states “All of its reports and datasets are made freely available in order to inform the public, the press and policymakers.” Well, I am having issues finding these “data sets” on your web site. I see articles written giving numbers, but can find no correlation as to where those numbers and percentages come from. Where do I need to go to find the raw data of “this is how many people we asked in these demographic locations.” Any help to this would be much appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Drake10 months ago

      see if this helps: How to Access Pew Research Datasets pewrsr.ch/15p2cFS

      Reply