Poll: Snowden Viewed as Whistleblower, Not Traitor, by Majority of Voters

July 10, 2013 - 10:03 AM

A majority of American voters do not view NSA leaker Edward Snowden as a traitor, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University.

By a 55 to 34 percent margin, American voters believe Snowden is a whistleblower, not a traitor.

Quinnipiac notes that almost every party, gender, income, education, age and income group view Snowden as a whistle-blower, with the exception of black voters who see him as a traitor by a slim margin, 43 to 42 percent.

The poll also found that more voters (45 percent) say that the government's anti-terrorism efforts go too far in restricting civil liberties than say they don't go far enough (40 percent).

This represents a "massive shift in attitudes" from a January poll that found a plurality of voters (63 to 25 percent) believe that such activities don't go far enough to protect the country.

Men say (54 to 34 percent) that the government has gone too far and women say (47 to 36) percent they have not gone far enough.

Democrats and Republicans are evenly divided, but Independent voters say (49 to 36 percent) that counter-terrorism measures have gone too far.

Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said of the results:

"The massive swing in public opinion about civil liberties and governmental anti-terrorism efforts, and the public view that Edward Snowden is more whistle-blower than traitor are the public reaction and apparent shock at the extent to which the government has gone in trying to prevent future terrorist incidents."

"Moreover, the verdict that Snowden is not a traitor goes against almost the unified view of the nation's political establishment," he said.

Quinnipiac University surveyed 2,014 registered voters between June 28 and July 8 with a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points.