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39%Say US Too Worried About Individual Rights Over National Security

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Bianca
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« on: May 24, 2009, 11:18:11 am »









             39% Say U.S. Legal System Too Worried About Individual Rights Over National Security
           





Rasmussenreports.com
Thu May 21, 2009


In the tension between individual rights and national security, 39% of voters nationwide now believe that our legal system worries too much about protecting individual rights.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 24% believe our legal system worries too much about national security and 25% say the balance is about right.

Those figures confirm a shift in perceptions that was first recorded a month ago. In April, 37% thought the courts were too concerned about individual rights. Prior to 2009, the number who held this concern ranged from 25% to 34%.

Most Republicans (54%) say the legal system is too concerned about individual rights. So do a plurality of voters not affiliated with either major party (42%).

Democrats lean in the opposite direction. Thirty-four percent (34%) of those in the president's party say the courts are too concerned about national security, 24% hold the opposite view, and 32% say the balance is about right.

Perceptions on this issue may be impacted by specific events in the news. At this time, the public is concerned about what will happen to terrorist suspects when the Guantanamo prison is closed. Because of growing public concern that some of those suspects might be moved to the United States, the Senate on Tuesday stripped money from a budget bill that would have financed the closing of the Guantanamo facility.

Most voters favor military tribunals, and the Obama administration, in an about-face earlier this week, announced it will continue to try some terrorist suspects with those tribunals.

Also, 58% believe the recent release of CIA memos about harsh interrogation endangered national security.

On a related topic, there is a huge partisan divide as to whether or not the CIA misled Nancy Pelosi during briefings on harsh interrogation techniques.

Rasmussen Reports first began asking about the balance between security and liberty
amidst allegations that a wiretapping program approved by President George W. Bush was illegal. At that time, 32% said our legal system worried too much about individual rights at the expense of national security and 29% held the opposite view.

Currently, confidence that the United States and its allies are winning the War on Terror is near the lowest level of the past year. However, most Americans give President Obama good or excellent marks for handling national security issues.

Please sign up for the Rasmussen Reports daily e-mail update (it's free) -- let us keep you up to date with the latest public opinion news.




This national telephone survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports May 16-17, 2009. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence (see methodology).


Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.
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