Some results from a new Quinnipiac poll about surveillance:
By 45 percent to 40 percent, respondents ... said the government's counterterrorism efforts went too far on limiting civil liberties. That marks a turnaround from a January 2010 Quinnipiac poll which found the public saying the government's national security policies didn’t do enough by a 63 percent to 25 percent split....So a plurality of women, by an 11-point margin, still think the government needs to do more to ensure security -- but a majority of men say the government is overreaching, and the margin is 20 points.
The poll finds a gender gap, with men saying national security policies have gone too far and encroach on civil liberties by a 54 percent to 34 percent split. Women by 47 percent to 36 percent say those policies are not enough.
And Quinnipiac tells us that's a huge reversal from two and a half years ago (emphasis added below):
When Quinnipiac University asked voters in January, 2010, whether they thought the government had gone too far restricting civil liberties or not gone far enough to protect the country, ... Republicans said not far enough 72 - 17 percent; today GOP voters say not far enough 46 - 41 percent. Democrats went from not far enough 57 - 29 percent to too far 43 - 42 percent. Men went from 61 - 28 percent not far enough to 54 - 34 percent too far. Women went from 64 - 22 not far enough to 47 - 36 percent not far enough.So men said "not far enough" by 33 points in 2010 and say "too far" by 20 points now. That's a quite a change.
And if you compare the numbers for whites now with those from 2010, you'll see that "not far enough" beat "too far" 65%-23% in 2010, but "too far" beats "not far enough" 46%-39% today. Same for the college-educated: In 2010, 64% said "not far enough" and 25% said "too far"; now it's 48% "too far" and 35% "not far enough."
Maybe this just means that the people paying closest attention to the NSA story, and thus experiencing the most disillusionment, are college-educated white males. Or maybe it means that college-educated white males don't mind surveillance until they think they're the ones being surveilled. Then it becomes intolerable, whereas it seemed fine when it was directed at other people. Hard to say.