The Conversation

NSA Snooping Costs Obama Youth Vote

According to a new poll, the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance programs are costing Obama the youth vote. Since Edward Snowden revealed the NSA snooping dragnet, there has a been a "double digit drop" in Obama's approval rating among younger voters.  

Polling taken by the Economist and YouGov finds a 14-point swing in Obama’s approval and disapproval rating among voters aged 18-29 in surveys taken immediately before the NSA revelations and last week. Overall, the swing in Obama’s approval rating moves just four points.

A June survey by USA Today/Pew showed that younger voters were more likely than other age cohorts to support Snowden's decision to leak the classified material. The difference is staggering: 60% of 18-29 said that exposing the surveillance programs served the public good, but only 36% of the 65+ crowd said so.

Julian Zelizer, a political science professor at Princeton University explained “Younger voters tend to believe the Internet should be an area of free speech and free communication, and the idea that the government is looking into what you’re doing is distasteful — and particularly distasteful if run by a president they voted for."

Obama held a press conference on August 9 where he announced a series of NSA reforms but those promises were met with skepticism according to a Rasmussen Poll.  Only 11% of voters believed Obama's new policies would make snooping on "ordinary" American citizen's phone calls less likely. 


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