A new poll suggests American voters disagree with how many Washington lawmakers are characterizing National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
Approximately 55% of American voters view Snowden as a “whistle-blower,” according to new Quinnipiac University poll. Only 34% consider him a “traitor” for revealing details on two of the nation’s top secret surveillance programs.
A majority view him as a whistle-blower in every subgroup–political party, gender, income, education, and age–except for African -American voters, among whom 43% call him a traitor and 42% a whistle-blower.
Researchers also spotted a “massive swing in public opinion” when it comes to how the public feels about spying programs in relation to civil liberties. Now, 45% of voters say the government goes way too far restricting civil liberties in regard to its anti-terrorism efforts. That’s a big switch from 2010 when 63% felt the government didn’t go far enough in its efforts to protect the country from terrorists.
Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac polling institute, said “the massive swing in public opinion about civil liberties and governmental anti-terrorism efforts, and the public view that Edward Snowden is more whistle-blower than traitor, are the public reaction and apparent shock at the extent to which the government has gone in trying to prevent future terrorist incidents.”
Snowden’s exact whereabouts are unknown. It’s believed he is holed up inside the transit zone at Moscow’s Sheremtyevo airport. He has been offered asylum in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua.