56% of Americans say the NSA’s monitoring of the phone records of millions of Americans is an acceptable anti-terror tactic. Americans have supported government efforts to investigate terrorist threats, even at the expense of personal privacy, since 2006.
So far, public interest in a trio of controversies connected to the Obama administration remains limited. Republicans are following the stories much more closely.
The Senate on Thursday confirmed John Brennan to be the new director of the CIA after several senators took part in a filibuster focusing on the administration's drone strategy. A majority of Americans support drone strikes against suspected terrorist targets abroad, but some (31%) express concerns are about the legality of the program.
The public continues to be divided over many of the anti-terrorism policies that arose in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks ten years ago. These differences extend to opinions about whether U.S. wrongdoing prior to 9/11 may have motivated the attacks.
Views of the Patriot Act have changed little since the Bush administration, with slightly more Americans currently saying it is a necessary security tool rather than a threat to civil liberties. Democrats are now somewhat more supportive of the law.
The federal government continues to get positive marks for efforts to reduce the threat of
terrorism although the partisan gap has reversed since the Bush years. But many Americans say luck is a big reason why the U.S. has not suffered a major attack at home since 2001.