Poll: Most voters think NSA program more likely to protect than harm

Most voters now believe that the National Security Agency program that collects phone records on millions of Americans is more likely to catch terrorists than to hurt Americans — a reversal from last year. 

According to a Fox News poll, 50 percent of registered voters think the program is more likely to catch terrorists and protect Americans from attacks, while 44 percent said the program is more likely to hurt Americans by using the information improperly. 

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That is a broad turnaround since last year, according to the poll, when NSA contractor Edward Snowden first leaked the information. Last July only 41 percent of people said the program was more likely to help, while 47 percent said it would more likely hurt Americans. 

Many critics have argued against government overreach and the potential for abuse of the program, rather than citing actual instances of wrongdoing.  

Less than a week after President Obama outlined a list of reforms to rein in the surveillance agency, 68 percent of people are glad the collection programs were made public by Snowden’s disclosure. Another 25 percent are not glad. 

In one of his largest recommendations, Obama argued for the NSA to give up control of its database that holds millions of Americans' phone metadata — which includes call times, lengths and durations. However, he did not outline a specific proposal on where to store the information, either with telephone companies or a third party. 

Sixty-seven percent of people said they would not trust a third party to keep the information confidential, while 31 percent said they would.

About the same amount of people, however, also said they do not trust the government to hold the information. Sixty-one percent said they don’t trust the government to keep the information confidential, while 38 percent disagreed. 

The poll surveyed 1,010 registered voters and has a 3-percent margin of error.