WASHINGTON – Two in three Americans say it is likely that a recently exposed government surveillance program is being used to listen in on the private phone calls of U.S. citizens, and a majority say they do not trust President Obama to implement the program in a constitutional way, according to a recent poll.
More than two thirds of respondents (68 percent) said it was either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that government agencies are listening in on the private conversations of Americans.
By contrast, fewer than one in three (28 percent) said it was “not very likely” or “not at all likely” that the government is eavesdropping on the communications of U.S. citizens.
The survey results were consistent across demographic and political lines, suggesting that most people are unconvinced by Obama administration assurances that the controversial data mining program is limited to just phone numbers and call durations.
A majority of men (68 percent) and women (68 percent) said they thought it was likely the government was listening to the private phone calls of Americans, as did a majority of white respondents (70 percent), black respondents (74 percent), and those who did not identify themselves as either white or black (55 percent).
More than three-fourths of Republicans (78 percent) said it was likely the government was eavesdropping on private conversations, as did a majority of Democrats (58 percent) and political independents (69 percent).
In addition to concerns about eavesdropping, the poll results also suggest that most Americans are skeptical about the intentions of federal officials charged with overseeing the sweeping surveillance and monitoring program.
When asked if they trusted the president, executive branch, Congress and federal judges to “make sure the program is abiding by the Constitution,” 52 percent of respondents said they did not, compared to just 30 percent who said they did. Another 18 percent said they were unsure.
The Rasmussen Reports poll of 1,000 likely voters was conducted between June 8 and June 9, and has a + / – 3 percent margin of error.
The survey results come just days after Booz Allen Hamilton employee and former “technical assistant for the CIA” Edward Snowden made headlines by leaking information about a far-reaching surveillance program administered by the Obama Administration designed to collect data, including phone records, on millions of Americans.
An interview with Snowden in Hong Kong is embedded below.