Euro spying A-OK with older Americans

July 05, 2013, 9:15 AM GMT+0

An overwhelming majority of Americans think that the US and European allies are spying on each other - and nearly half support it.

The Obama administration is currently trying to placate European leaders after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the US had been spying on the offices of diplomatic missions of the European Union and of several European countries. The timing of the revelations is particularly unwelcome, as the European Union - the world's largest economic area - has just begun negotiating with the United States on a trade agreement that is expected to increase US per capita incomes by up to 13.4% in the long term.

The latest YouGov research shows that spying on Europeans wins support among Americans, with 44% approving of it and 28% disagreeing. Interestingly, there is not a notable partisan split - both Democrats (46%) and Republicans (52%) generally support the spying program.

There is, however, a significant split along age. On balance, people under the age of 29 are the only demographic to disapprove of the US spying on its European allies, while in every other age group there is a significant margin of approval.

The American public are hardly surprised by the revelations with 76% thinking that the US does indeed spy on European allies. 74% also think that Europeans spy on the US, echoing Barack Obama's comments in Tanzania that European states spy on the United States.