Americans oppose tapping phones of foreign leaders

November 06, 2013, 11:22 AM GMT+0

Many Americans oppose monitoring the calls of foreign leaders, but still disapprove of Snowden's decision to make the information public.

Americans share Edward Snowden’s concerns over the overseas spying activities of the National Security Agency, but the former NSA analyst hasn’t helped his own image much with those new revelations. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, a plurality of Americans continue to disapprove of Snowden’s leaking of classified information, and more favor his prosecution than oppose it.

In this week’s poll, 44% disapprove of Snowden’s decision to leak classified information. Opinion of the analyst’s actions declined after he sought asylum in Russia last summer, and has changed little since then. And Americans continue to support his prosecution, though, as before, by a relatively small margin. In this week’s poll, 31% would prosecute him, while 26% oppose prosecution.

Opinions of Snowden are one of the few things these days that Republicans and Democrats agree on. Partisans on both sides disapprove of his actions and support prosecuting him. Independents oppose prosecution – as do those under the age of 30.

But the public disagrees with the government, too. Should America monitor the cell phone calls of foreign leaders? By nearly two to one, the public says it should not, and opposes this activity. That opposition is felt among all groups.

The President gets little positive feedback for his actions on this issue. Only 19% of the public approves of Barack Obama has handled the Snowden situation, and 42% disapprove. Even a quarter of Democrats disapprove of his handling of Snowden.

Full results can be found here.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here.

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