Poll: Majority supports Snowden leaking surveillance programs

The Time magazine poll released Thursday found that 54 percent of those surveyed said it was a "good thing" that Snowden leaked information about top secret data collection programs.

But there is also strong support for Snowden to be prosecuted for leaking the information, the poll found. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed said Snowden should be prosecuted while 28 percent said he should not. Broken down by party affiliation, 59 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of Independents said that Snowden should be prosecuted. That finding echoes the feelings of a number of lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) who, on Tuesday, said that Snowden should be "prosecuted to the fullest extend of the law."

Snowden leaked information on two surveillance operations. One of the programs collects data on telephone calls and the other one, called PRISM, monitors Internet use. The Time poll found that 48 percent approve of the PRISM program while 44 percent disapprove. But a majority of those surveyed also said the program has been effective. Sixty-four percent said the program had been effective in fighting terrorism while just 14 percent said the program had not helped fight terrorism at all.

The poll also found a majority is concerned that the government will misuse the data obtained through the PRISM program. Sixty-three percent said they are "very" or "somewhat" concerned that the government would use the programs to spy on people's private lives while 32 percent said they are "very concerned" that the government would snoop into the private lives of citizens.

A large majority also worries than the surveillance program is even more extensive than what's been reported so far. Seventy-six percent said they worry the program is bigger than what's been revealed so far and 43 percent said the government should cut back on the surveillance program.

The poll was conducted June 10 to 11 among 805 adults ages 18 and older. The margin of error was roughly plus or minus 3 percentage points.

More in News

Snowden: Dem debate was 'extraordinarily encouraging' for me

Read more »