Poll finds majority view TSA favorably

A majority of Americans hold a positive view of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), according to a new Gallup poll released Wednesday.

The survey showed 54 percent of 1,014 adults who were polled saying TSA was doing either an "excellent" or a "good" job handling airport security. Thirty percent of the poll's respondents said the agency was doing an "only fair" job, and 12 percent said TSA's performance was "poor."

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The findings come after lawmakers questioned the performance of TSA employees in the days before Congress left Washington for its traditional August recess.

"The majority of Americans do not support the government’s current approach, and when they hear that the people at TSA that are supposed to enforce and ensure their security are engaged in gross misconduct, it only makes matters worse," House Transportation Security subcommittee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said during a hearing last week.

"Stealing from checked luggage; accepting bribes from drug smugglers; sleeping or drinking while on duty. This kind of criminal behavior and negligence has contributed significantly to TSA's shattered public image," Rogers continued.

The Gallup poll found just 41 percent of Americans think TSA is either effective or extremely effective in preventing terrorists from hijacking American airplanes, however.

Forty-four percent said the agency was only "somewhat effective" at preventing terrorism, while 13 percent said TSA was either "not too effective" or "not effective at all."

The poll found that about 50 percent of Americans reported having flown on an airplane in the past year. Respondents who had flown more than three times gave a 56 percent "excellent" or "good" rating, while 52 percent of people who had not flown at all rated the agency favorably.

Gallup said the findings showed "[T]he American public gives the TSA a generally good report card, with a slight majority rating its overall job performance in positive terms.

"The fact that Americans who fly have a slightly more positive opinion of the agency than those who haven't flown recently suggests that experience with the TSA at airports does not detract from this image and may enhance it," the polling agency said. "Opinions about the effectiveness of the TSA are mixed, although most Americans and U.S. air travelers say the procedures are at least somewhat effective at preventing terrorism."

The full TSA opinion poll can be read here.