Americans Favor the Patriot Act, Until…
According to this survey, most Americans who favor the Patriot Act don’t know anything about it. When they learn more about it, they don't like it.
People who are uninformed tend to like it because of that warm fuzzy name, and all the rhetoric surrounding it. Hey, it’s called the “Patriot Act” and it fights terrorists. What’s not to like?
Only 42% were able to identify the main purpose of the Patriot Act — increased surveillance. Overall, 64% were in favor of the Patriot Act. That number dropped to 57% among those who knew the purpose of the law.
The Patriot Act has been highly visible in the public consciousness, and yet most people don’t know anything about it.
The director of the survey said “the Patriot Act has been a very visible piece of legislation. We wanted to see if people had an understanding of the act that differentiated it from the war on terrorism generally. Most people don't distinguish the Patriot Act from the war on terror in general. Once people see these things hit increasingly close to home, they become more and more troubled.”
75% of the survey said they thought law enforcement would use the Patriot Act for purposes other than fighting terrorism. 72% said they believe it will be used to spy on legitimate political organizations.
The public is evenly divided on whether the Patriot Act has prevented terrorist attacks.