(CNN) - When it comes to new airport security screening for passengers, Americans agree that full-body scanners are okay, but split over when additional measures cross the line, according to two new polls.
A majority of Americans surveyed in two new polls released this week support the Transportation Security Administration's use of full-body x-ray machines that use new technology to highlight outlines of the human body in an effort to detect hidden weapons.
According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, roughly two-thirds of Americans support full-body x-ray machines, known as Advanced Imaging Technology, but less than half agree that enhanced searches are justified.
When asked whether privacy or the ability to investigate possible terror threats is more important, almost 7 in 10 say that combating terrorism is more important than protecting personal privacy, but 50 percent say the enhanced pat-downs go too far. Forty-eight percent say the more thorough pat-down is justified, indicating that Americans are split on how much personal privacy they are willing to compromise.
The Washington Post-ABC poll echoes findings released by CBS News last week. In the CBS poll conducted during the second week of November, 81 percent of Americans agreed that airports should use full-body x-ray machines.
The TSA website lists 385 "imaging technology units" at 68 airports across the country. In an effort to refute the myth that complaints about pat-downs are extremely high, a blog hosted by TSA responds that "Only a small percentage of the traveling public receives a pat down as they travel through the security checkpoint. Approximately 2 million people fly in the United States every day. The number of complaints is extremely low."
The CBS poll did not ask about enhanced pat-downs, but it did query respondents about whether it is justified to subject people of certain racial or ethnic groups to additional security checks at airport checkpoints. Over half the nation said that ethnic profiling is not justified in the survey - up fourteen percent from January 2010, the last time this question was asked.
Results from the Washington Post-ABC poll paint a different picture. Seventy percent of Americans support using available information about passengers in order to determine who gets chosen for extra security screening at airports in the poll. Of the criteria that should be used to select passengers for extra security screening, 86 percent believe personal behavior should be included, 78 percent say travel history, 55 percent responded that nationality should be considered, and half indicated that personal appearance should be included. Four in ten said that race should be a factor.
The Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted by telephone on November 21, 2010 among 514 adults. It has a sampling error or plus-or-minus five percentage points.
The CBS News Poll was conducted among 1,137 adults from November 7-10 by telephone. It has a sampling error of plus-or-minus three percentage points.