Freedom vs. Protection

May 01, 2013, 3:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 4/27/2013) Although Americans are happy with the use of surveillance cameras to identify the Tsarnaev brothers as suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings, and most do not see their increased use infringing on their personal privacy, that doesn’t mean all are willing to give up personal freedoms to increase their protection from acts of terror. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, 60% of Americans are not willing to give up freedoms for protection.

That may be because many Americans are a little fatalistic: 81% think the U.S. will always have to live with the threat of terrorism. At the same time, many don’t see the threat as directly impacting them. 54% say they are not very concerned about a terrorist attack where they live. Just one in ten are very concerned.

Women, Democrats and older Americans are more likely to say they would give up some freedoms for protection. Still, half of those 65 and older, 55% of women, and 51% of Democrats would not.

Support for the use of surveillance cameras crosses party lines. 61% overall, including 64% of Democrats and 67% of Republicans think installing them in public places is a good idea. 58% of independents are also in favor.

More women than men are in favor: 68% of women, but only 54% of men support the use of surveillance cameras in public places.