Fifty-three percent of all likely U.S. voters consider the leaking of classified information to the media to be an act of treason, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey released on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, 30 percent disagree and 18 percent are undecided.
This is similar to the way voters felt in November 2010 after WikiLeaks published top secret U.S. government data related to the war in Afghanistan and other defense and foreign policy issues.
In that survey:
- 51 percent thought it was treasonous.
- 28 percent thought it was not.
- 21 percent were undecided.
Other data in the poll showed:
- When President Obama was in the White House, 62 percent of Republicans thought leaks were treasonous, while the latest survey, with Donald Trump as president, shows that number has jumped to 73 percent.
- Democrats were more consistent in their beliefs, as 40 percent thought the leaks in 2010 were treasonous, while now 36 percent say so.
- The opinions of those unaffiliated with either party have remained even more unchanged, as 52 percent thought it was treasonous in 2010 and 50 percent say so now.
When asked whether media outlets that release secret government information are providing a public service or hurting national security:
- 47 percent say harming national security, down considerably from the 72 percent who thought so in the 2010 survey.
- 34 percent said in the latest poll that the media is providing a public service.
That dramatic change does not appear to only be due to partisanship. In the latest poll:
- 56 percent of GOP voters said the media is hurting national security, which is way down from the 84 percent of Republican voters who thought so in 2010.
- Among Democrats, 36 percent said in the latest survey that the media is harming national security, which is similarly down from the 61 percent of Democrats who thought that way in 2010.
The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted May 29-30. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.
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