NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union released the results of a poll today showing decisive support among North Carolina voters for substantive reform to the U.S. government’s surveillance practices. The survey, conducted jointly by a bipartisan pair of research firms, found nearly two-thirds of respondents in North Carolina believe that the Patriot Act should not be reauthorized in its current form.
This support for reform remains constant regardless of party affiliation, age, or gender. Millennials and independents, in particular, favor reining in the government’s authority to surveil American citizens. The poll also found four in five North Carolina voters are concerned that the government is storing American’s personal information.
There was considerable consensus around several arguments in favor of strengthening Americans’ privacy rights. Eighty-three percent of respondents found it persuasive that the local police and the FBI should have a get a warrant in order to search phone and email records. Similarly, 80 percent believed that the government’s current ability to access personal conversations was a reason to implement reform. In addition, 73 percent favored protecting communication between pastors and their congregants from government surveillance.
Congress is currently considering reauthorizing components of the Patriot Act, including the controversial Section 215. This provision is being used to authorize bulk collection of telephone metadata despite a federal appeals court ruling earlier this month finding the program illegal – a case brought to court and argued by the ACLU.
The poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group and G² Public Strategies, surveyed 400 likely voters in North Carolina between April 24 and April 28, 2015.
The poll results are at: