Poll: Majority believes US tracks citizens

A majority of Americans believe the United States government is spying on them, according to a new survey released Monday.

The Monmouth University Polling Institute found that 82 percent of respondents believe the government is watching the actions of American citizens. A majority, 53 percent, says they think that spying is widespread, while 29 percent of respondents believe government spying is not widespread.

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Only 14 percent of those polled said they do not think the government spies on Americans' activities, while 4 percent said they did not know.

“This is a worrisome finding. The strength of our government relies on public faith in protecting our freedoms, which is not particularly robust,” Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray said in a statement. “And it’s not a Democratic or Republican issue. These concerns span the political spectrum.”

A majority of those polled, 71 percent, said the spying is justified, with 18 percent saying it’s “usually justified” and 53 percent saying it’s “sometimes justified.” Twenty-six percent of respondents said they thought that the spying is “rarely justified,” while 2 percent said it is “never justified.”

The survey also found that 74 percent of respondents believe in a “deep state” when it is described as a collection of unelected officials determining policy. Twenty-one percent said they do not believe this kind of group exists.

The survey of 803 adults was conducted from March 2-5. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.