Public support for USAPA slipping


Daniel writes "The current Bill of Rights Defense Committee Newsletter cites polls indicating the public's support for the USA PATRIOT Act is slipping.

A quote from the newsletter suggests that the gov't is starting to acknowledge the opposition:

"Even the Department of Justice (DOJ) is starting to listen to the public: On March 21, 2004, Chuck Rosenberg, the chief of staff to the DOJ's Deputy Attorney General, admitted that the public's support of the Patriot Act is waning. At a panel in St. Louis following the passage of that city's resolution, Rosenberg acknowledged that his department is "losing this fight" to justify controversial parts of the Patriot Act."

As I've told other people on this board, polls DO NOT show whether laws are just, only how people feel about them. Still, I'm happy to see that as more people become acquainted with the possibilities of the Act, the less they like the law."


Daniel, just a couple point of facts re your post here.

You are correct in your reference to Chuck Rosenberg's comments. BTW the article in full can be found in the St.Louis Post Dispatch (ASHCROFT STAFFER ADMITS PATRIOT ACT IS UNPOPULAR March 22, 2004)

You may remember this recent Roper Poll (below) I submitted a week or so back. It was taken on February 17, 2004.

Based on what you have read or heard, do you think the Patriot Act--goes too far, is about right, or does not go far enough--in restricting people's civil liberties in order to fight terrorism?


Too far - 26%

About right - 43

Not far enough - 21

No opinion - 10

Considering this recent slide that you refer to, would you agree that at least 55% of Americans still support the Patriot Act? Even though the high end of this poll, taken just a month earlier, tells us that only 36% could possibly oppose the PA. So, for the sake of argument, plus the fact that I'm a nice guy, can we assume that 45-50% of Americans oppose the PA?

Now let's consider that old can of worms that the two of us recently kicked around, abortion. Here is another recent Roper Poll taken on March 8th of this year.

(I'm going to read you a list of proposed laws and regulations, and for each one, I'd like you to tell me whether you would favor or oppose that law or regulation.) Would you favor or oppose...tougher restrictions on abortion?


Favor - 43%

Oppose - 50

Not sure - 7

Could we not safely say here that at least 45% of Americans oppose abortion? (yes, technically the question is "tougher laws", however I don't think it is a reach to assume that most of these folks also oppose abortion) Interestingly, these folks represent the same percentage of folks who oppose the Patriot Act.

My point. Better, my question. Why are these two issues portrayed completely different in our media? Or, do you feel the coverage is consistent?

Too far About right
2004 Feb 16-17 26 43
2003 Nov 10-12 ^ 25 45
2003 Aug 25-26 ^ 22 48