NYT/CBS Poll: Most Americans Favor Public Surveillance

Tuesday, 30 Apr 2013 10:34 PM

By Matthew Auerbach

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Results of a new poll show that Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of the installation of surveillance cameras in public places and see the move as an acceptable trade-off to any infringement that might cause on their privacy,  The New York Times reports.

According to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll, 78 percent of people said surveillance cameras were a good idea.

Nine out of 10 people polled believe Americans would always have to live with the risk of a terror attack, but many said the government would be able to combat any attack effectively through rigorous law enforcement and proper regulation.

One issue that divided those polled was the role of the nation’s intelligence agencies before the Boston Marathon attacks. Forty-one percent said the agencies had collected information that could have prevented them while 45 percent said they had not.

The poll found that a majority of Americans would be in favor of tougher measures to stymie future attacks.

Sixty-six percent said information about how to make explosives should be removed from the Internet, where it would be easily obtainable to would-be terrorists, even though some would consider that move a form of censorship.

Thirty percent said the information should be available in the name of free expression.

Only 20 percent of respondents said they thought the government had overstepped its bounds in restricting civil liberties in the fight against terrorism, while 26 percent said it could go farther and 49 percent said the balance was about right.

The recent Boston bombings have not dampened people’s desire to gather with one another in public.

Seventy-two percent said they did not plan to avoid large public events in order to limit their exposure to potential terrorist attacks.

The nationwide poll of 965 adults was conducted on landlines and cellular phones from April 24 to April 28, five days after the manhunt for the surviving suspect in the Boston bombings, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, ended with his capture in a backyard in Watertown, Mass.

It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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