The public has a generally favorable view of Apple CEO Tim Cook as his company battles with the FBI over encryption, according to a new poll.
Thirty-nine percent of registered voters view Cook favorably, according to a Morning Consult poll released Friday, while 17 percent have an unfavorable view of him. Forty-four percent have either never heard of him or have no opinion of the executive.
The poll had a sample of 1,935 registered voters and a margin of error of two percent. The poll took place Feb. 24–25.
The finding comes as Cook makes himself the face of Apple’s refusal to help the FBI access encrypted information on a phone belonging to one of the San Bernardino, Calif., shooters last year. The company filed a motion in court Friday meant to rebuff the government’s request for help.
The fight between Apple and law enforcement over the phone has become a proxy for a larger debate over what kind of access police should have to encrypted data.
And Cook has been at the center of it all.
"The tradeoff here is we know that doing this could expose people to incredible vulnerabilities,” Cook told ABC News this week. “This would be bad for Americans. It would also set a precedent that I believe many people in America would be offended by.”
Cook also wrote a memo to Apple employees on the company’s position.
Since taking over the company after the death of co-founder Steve Jobs, Cook has spoken out about politically charged issues more than his predecessor. He has also driven the company to raise its profile in Washington.