The Ticket

Obama’s job approval tumbles, Americans split on spying: Poll

Olivier Knox, Yahoo News
The Ticket

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President Barack Obama delivers a keynote address ahead of the G-8 summit in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 17, …

President Barack Obama’s job approval rating fell sharply over the past month—from 53 to 45 percent, according to a new CNN poll. Fifty-four percent of Americans disapprove of the job he’s doing, also up from 45 percent, the survey found.

Sixty-one percent disapprove of the way he’s handling government surveillance of Americans in the aftermath of a series of dramatic reports about National Security Agency spying, while 35 percent approve.

Obama's early second term has been buffeted by a series of controversies—not just about the NSA surveillance, but also allegations of misconduct at the IRS and government spying on reporters. The president was expected to address those issues in a new interview with Charlie Rose, which airs Monday night.

What about Edward Snowden, who says he revealed the government’s secret to expose abuses? Forty-four percent approve of what he did, while 52 percent disapprove. Should the U.S. government attempt to bring him back to U.S. soil and prosecute him? Fifty-four percent say yes, 42 percent say no.

Even as the economy picks up steam, the poll found that Obama’s disapproval rating on that issue has ticked up steadily over the first six months of the year, from 51 percent in January, to 54 percent in April, to 57 percent in June.

Is Obama honest and trustworthy? Fifty percent say no, up from 41 percent in mid-May, while 49 percent say yes, down from 58 percent.

Americans are sending mixed messages on the NSA surveillance controversy—43 percent say Obama has gone too far in restricting civil liberties in the name of national security, 38 percent agree with him that he’s found the right balance, and 17 percent say he hasn’t gone far enough.

At the same time, 51 percent say the administration was right to collect the telephone records of Americans. Forty-eight percent say it was wrong.

Approval soars to 66 percent regarding the government’s snooping on personal information over the Internet. Thirty-three percent say it was wrong. (CNN’s question phrasing might have something to do with that. “The government reportedly does not target Internet usage by U.S. citizens and if such data is collected, it is kept under strict controls.”)

Still, it’s not because people don’t think it hasn’t happened to them: 62 percent told CNN they thought the government had collected and stored data about their personal telephone and Internet. Thirty-four percent say they did not think so.

Does the federal government pose an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of American citizens? A whopping 62 percent say it does, up from 56 percent the last time the question was asked, in February 2010.

The survey had an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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