Poll: Majority of Voters Think the Government is Spying on Journalists

Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to reporters before boarding his campaign plane at Duluth International Airport on September 18, 2020 in Duluth, Minnesota. Biden toured a carpenters training facility, visited with people at a coffee shop downtown and stopped at a fire station. (Photo by …
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A majority of voters think the government is playing “peeping Tom” when it comes to journalists’ privacy in the United States.

According to a Rasmussen poll released Tuesday, 59 percent of voters believe it is somewhat likely the U.S. government spies on critical journalists and political opponents, including 36 percent who think it’s very likely.

The poll report went on:

After [Fox News host Tucker Carlson] said on his June 28 broadcast that the National Security Agency [NSA] was intercepting his communications, many news organizations dismissed this claim as implausible. However, most voters have long believed the U.S. government spies on political opponents – in January 2019, 61 percent thought such surveillance was at least somewhat likely.

In late June, Carlson said a government whistleblower told him he was being spied on. The whistleblower reportedly “revealed details of a story they had been working on that could have only been known through texts and emails,” Breitbart News previously reported. The NSA responded to Carlson saying he was not a target, but they did not deny intercepting his electronic communications.

For those who do believe the government keeps tabs on journalists, 61 percent do not trust the government’s judgement in such surveillance on U.S. citizens.

A majority of voters on both sides of the political aisle tend to agree that government spying is at least somewhat likely, including 66 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of Democrats, and 57 percent of unaffiliated voters. However, the rate of Republicans who believe spying is very likely trumps that of Democrats at 44 percent compared to 25 percent.

Young people are more apt to believe the government is surveilling domestic opposition, with 72 percent of voters under 40 saying it is somewhat likely. Fifty-six percent of people 40-64 years old and 46 percent of voters 65 and older think spying is possible.

The NSA’s spying campaigns have been the subject of much controversy for nearly a decade.

In 2013, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released thousands of documents revealing how the NSA secretly collected millions of Americans’ telephone records. In 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled the NSA’s actions violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and may well have been unconstitutional, Reuters reported.

More recently, host of the America First radio show Sebastian Gorka warned Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow of more potential NSA spying during SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily.

“The Biden administration is working with the Senate and House intelligence committees to make amendments to an executive order from the 1980s — it’s called 12333 — to permit the NSA and the CIA to target U.S. citizens as domestic terror threats,” Gorka said. “What they’re doing on Capitol Hill, right now, in closed session, they’re trying to expand — legally — the warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens by the NSA and the CIA to target Trump supporters as a made-up threat to America.”

According to the poll, those who strongly support Biden are less likely to think the federal government is spying on Americans, with 39 percent saying it is somewhat possible. Out of voters who disapprove of Biden, 75 percent think the government is spying on journalists.

When Biden was first elected, 70 percent of voters were worried about the government spying on American citizens and 40 percent expected domestic government spying to increase under his administration, another poll found.

The survey of 1,000 U.S. likely voters was conducted June 30-July 1, 2021. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.