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Your Rights vs. Your Safety – You Decide

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The debate over the Patriot Act and the National Security Agency’s snooping on millions of Americans is all about the balance between national security and individual rights. Similarly, increasing complaints about urban policing have us discussing the conflict between those rights and public safety.

But voters aren’t much help. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that they remain closely divided on both questions as they have been in regular surveying for the past four years.

Twenty-seven percent (27%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe that in the United States today our legal system worries too much about protecting individual rights at the expense of national security. But 32% feel that the legal system worries too much about protecting national security instead. Another 32% think the balance between the two is about right.

Twenty-nine percent (29%) say the U.S. legal system worries too much about protecting individual rights at the expense of public safety. Nearly as many (27%) disagree and think the system errs on the side of public safety instead. Again, one-third (35%) of voters believe the balance is about right. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

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The national telephone survey of 950 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports on May 25-26, 2015. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Fieldwork for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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