Not only do a majority of Americans oppose full-body scans and security pat-downs at the nation’s airports but also almost half say they will opt for a different mode of traveling when possible instead of submitting to such intrusions, according to a new Zogby Interactive poll. The opposition comes not only from casual travelers but also from frequent fliers, the poll found.
Overall, 61 percent of the 2,032 likely voters polled from Nov. 19 to Nov. 22 oppose the use of full body scans and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) pat-downs. Republicans, at 69 percent, and independents, at 65 percent, voiced opposition in higher numbers than Democrats, who logged in at 50 percent against.
Given a choice, likely voters will choose full body scan over the pat-downs by a 48 percent to 7 percent margin, but 42 percent would rather have neither. Frequent fliers feel about the same.
Among casual fliers, 48 percent said they’d seek other ways to get from here to there. Among frequent fliers, 59 percent opposed the enhanced security, and 42 percent said they’ll seek alternative means of travel.
Pollster John Zogby said, "It's clear the majority of Americans are not happy with TSA and the enhanced security measures recently enacted. The airlines should not be happy with 42 percent of frequent fliers seeking a different mode of transportation due to these enhancements. It seems the airlines and TSA need to come together to find a solution before the American flying public abandons both."
Just over half (52 percent) of all those polled said the enhanced security measures will not prevent terrorist activity, almost half (48 percent) say it is a violation of privacy rights, and one-third said they should not have to go through enhanced security methods to get on an airplane. Almost one-third believe the full body scans and pat-downs are tantamount to sexual harassment.
This is in line with frequent fliers (defined as those who fly more than once every three months), as 53 percent say the enhanced measures will not prevent terrorist activity, 48 percent believe it's a violation of their privacy rights, 41 percent say they should not have to go through it to get on an airplane, and 35 percent believe it is sexual harassment.
Although roughly the same amount believe the full body scans and TSA pat-downs are necessary to keep the country safe and prevent terrorist activities on airplanes (34 percent of frequent fliers vs. 29 percent overall), frequent fliers are more likely to feel that the enhanced methods are not needed because metal detectors and bag screenings are working fine (33 percent to 26 percent). Just 16 percent of frequent fliers say no one has an absolute right to fly and, if people don't like the security measures, then just don't fly, compared with 20 percent of everyone polled.
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