Poll: Most air travelers ok sacrificing privacy for security
November 24th, 2010
10:28 AM ET
12 years ago

Poll: Most air travelers ok sacrificing privacy for security

Washington (CNN) - Do those new full-body screening procedures now in use at airports across the country make you mad? A new national poll suggests that if your answer is yes, you are in the minority.

Despite heavy coverage by the media and calls for a boycott against the procedures, a USA Today/Gallup survey indicates that 71 percent of Americans who consider themselves air travelers say that a potential loss of personal privacy from such screening is worth it as a method to prevent terrorist acts, with 27 percent disagreeing.

According to the poll, 18 percent of people who say they've flown at least twice in the past year say going through a full body scan would make them angry, with 24 percent saying they would be bothered but not angry and 57 percent saying they would not be angered.

When asked about going through a full body pat-down, 29 percent said they would be angry, with 28 percent saying they would be bothered but not angry and just over four in ten saying they would not be bothered.

The results are similar to an ABC News Washington Post survey that was released Monday night.

So, do frequent flyers think these new screening techniques work?

"Regardless of their preferences and whether they had personally undergone one of these procedures, Gallup asked frequent air travelers how effective they perceived these tactics to be at preventing terrorists from smuggling dangerous objects or explosives on board airplanes," says a release by Gallup. "Frequent travelers tend to agree that the full-body scans are more effective than other search methods, but are evenly split on the pat-downs."

According to the survey, 23 percent of respondents say they have flown two or more times over the past year, with 62 percent saying they have not flown at all in the past 12 months and 15 percent saying they've flown once.

The USA Today/Gallup poll was conducted November 19-21, with 3,018 adults, including 757 people who consider themselves frequent air travelers, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus two percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points for those who have flown at least twice in the past year.

Filed under: Polls • TSA
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. ModernMan

    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
    Benjamin Franklin

    November 24, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. beevee

    I don't see any reason for all this aobut full-body search when it is done purely for security reasons. Who may be behind the people that are objecting to it and the real reasons for it. It may not be all about violation of privacy.

    November 24, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. Nancy Pelosi, the wicked witch of the west, the DemocRAT gift that just keeps on giving

    Stupid people.... Your personal rights and freedom are YOURS. When you relinquish them to a government you will never get them back. If you let them do this to you to fly, then you'd better be prepared for the same thing before boarding a bus, train or ship. Or how about using high profile bridges, tunnels, etc? And don't we want safe shopping malls? Let's strip search people there as well! After all, better safe than sorry right? Stupid, stupid, sheeple.

    But where is the looney left that protested EVERYTHING George Bush did after 9/11 to protect us? Where is all the outcry about the Constitution being torn up and the country being destroyed when TERRORISTS were the targets? But now it is just fine for US to be nearly strip searched?! Pure hypocrisy because Obozo is in the Whitehouse.

    November 24, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. mesamick

    Well, the terrorists have won the first stage of the battle to destroy us infidel Americans. They have proved beyond a doubt that we have become a nation of nothing more than a bunch of pee-pants and "baby on board" types who will gladly give up privacy for a false sense of security.

    PS: Hey Boneher and the rest of you rethugliecant political hacks...WHERE ARE THE JOBS YOU PROMISED TO GET ELECTED THIS CYCLE?!?

    November 24, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. chris

    It is so funny most part Americans generally understand things of this nature; however it seems that the media are always hyping stories which in turns get everyone in an up roar!! I think if the media would stop the sensationalizing of news we would be better off.

    November 24, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. betterdays

    As a fairly conservative person, I really don't understand why a lot of the same "conservatives" who offer poll numbers on various other topics as proof that "the American people have spoken" are suddenly silent about the average American's stance on this topic. To listen to much of the recent commentary from "outraged" conservatives, you would think people were being gang-raped as public entertainment.

    Radical Islam is winning, slowly, methodically... they are patient. They remove a few critical bricks here and there from America's foundation, stand back and watch. In the meantime, one misguided group of Americans demands a few other bricks be removed here; their political/philosophical opponents demand still more bricks be removed there... and nobody is adding any bricks because we can't afford maintenance on the bricks we've got.

    At this point, a few more well-timed terror attacks and this nation is going to be in total chaos. So go ahead and scan me. You already know practically everything else about me anyway!

    November 24, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. gate

    The TSA has NEVER caught a single terrorist or would be bomber.

    No long term tests were performed on the safety of this new technology. They very well may cause cancer or other health problems.

    Most people polled have never been through a scanner or experienced an enhanced freedom fondle.

    Most of the people polled probably haven't flown recently.

    Fact: 1 out of 3 American's oppose giving up their freedom. The rest will trade it for almost anything because they aren't using it.

    November 24, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. Name apolo designs

    This is a total disgrace of out the 4th amendment of the u.s constitution .

    Obama should be impeached for this.
    "he who trades liberty for security deserved neither ".

    Osama is chuckling in his cave over this. He won.

    November 24, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. Laverne

    Of they do, who in their right mind would put convenience over security. The media is always trying to create controversy and a way to confuse people and NEVER EVER take the time to report the FACTS!

    November 24, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    No air travel is worth this degree of misery to get there.

    People need to stop flying. Period.

    November 24, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. tony

    just because most people are willing to give up their civil liberties, that doesn't mean it's okay to take them.

    November 24, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  12. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Get over it! I'd rather be safe than sorry. If a terrorist attack did happen on a plane and these measures weren't in place, everyone will be in a uproar. So what if a few of your liberties are being infringed upon.

    November 24, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  13. justsaying

    I don't get this racial profiling slant to airport screening.
    If three men dressed in all blue robbed a bank then the police
    would be looking for three men dressed in blue, RIGHT ?
    If a midget in a brown bath robe raped a woman then the
    police would be looking for THAT PARTICULAR person.
    BUT if airport security pulls aside mid eastern travelers
    in the U.S. instead of black, white and asian americans
    it is called racial profiling. Well IT IS MID EASTERN TERRORISTS
    who are the threat to us. What the hell is going haywire in
    AMERICA ? I watched security in an airport pull an 80 something
    year old black American aside and detain him because his pace maker
    made the metal detector go off. But in the same line were mid eastern
    passengers who weren't looked at twice. Where 's the logic ?

    November 24, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. Rickster

    Years ago you could walk into an airport, get your ticket and you(and your family or friends) could then proceed straight to the gate and, at the appropriate time, board the airplane...no security screening whatsoever. Then muslims started hijacking and blowing up planes and, thus, security screening was born. Since then muslims have invented new ways to try to blow up airplanes and the security screenings got ever more intrusive. Now you have to practically get naked or be molested to get through security and, in perhaps the most galling appeal in the history of man, muslims have requested an exemption to the enhanced screenings. Here's a better idea......screen all the people from middle-eastern countries. That would be more effective and time-saving than anything else we could do. If the middle-eastern people don't like it, they can go home and clean up their countries so they rejoin the civilized world.

    November 24, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    If our military men and women can give their lives to protect Americans, I feel it's my duty to make sure I do my part here in the homeland. Just left Washington DC round trip, no problems and I commend airport security as well as the inflight crews who kept me and my family safe.

    November 24, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. Ruth

    I think that airlines should schedule four or five minimum security flights per day for people who don't want to go through the security procedures. They can fly at their own risk. Give them the option of flying with people who are not checked and watch everybody quit complaining. Given the choice, what would you choose?

    November 24, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  17. Mojon Bush

    They can touch me where ever they want; I rather be safe.

    November 24, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  18. Rickster

    Another poll says this:............."On the eve of one of the nation's busiest travel days, a poll has found that 61% of likely voters oppose the newly enhanced security measures at the country's airports."

    Which is it?

    November 24, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. william reno

    you know 90% of security screening can be done before you even get to the airport. If you buy a ticket 21 days in advance with a credit card, the tsa could do a back ground check screening and we could eliminate all this BS. Of course the government and media will have you believe that everybody is ok with this. I AM NOT I was born and raise in this country, 12 military veteran, have a TWIC which the FBI claims is needed for my work, and I AM sick and tired of being treated like a convicted felon every time I want to go on vacation. I would drive, but I live in Alaska so flying is a way of life.

    November 24, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. T'sah from Virginia

    [Poll: Most air travelers ok sacrificing privacy for security]

    And this is coming from "MOST AIR TRAVELERS." Now take the non-travelers who most likely only travel once or twice a year – if that – and they will NOT find a problem with it either!!!

    Some Americans have become such WHINERS to the point where it's a disgrace. If all of this "security" was under BUSH – there will be NO PROBLEM (and I am repeating this). The RepubliCAN'Ts will embrace it and along with their FEAR-Mongering, the American people will BELIEVE IT!!!

    Please stick with our current leader, President Obama, and truthfully, I feel SAFER in ALL aspects with him being our LEADER!!!!

    November 24, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  21. GuyinVA

    Where is the oh-so-concerned-for-my-civil-liberties leftist media on this? You know, the same ones who ominously and constantly quoted Ben Franklin's statement about people sacrificing liberty for security deserving neither. Oh that's right, a republican was president, and we were actually seeking out terrorists instead of groping granny. At least the ACLU has been consistent on this. I have no more problem with the TSA's procedures than I did with the Terrorist Surveillance Program. However, the media's (FOX included, just in reverse) hypocrisy related to the two programs has been... surprising? No, that's not it. Disappointing? No, no one expects any better. Ah yes, absolutely true to form.

    November 24, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. Mark

    Try asking real frequent fliers, like myself who fly 25+ times a year. Asking people who don't fly, or only fly once or twice a year, like this survey did, is a joke! It's like asking someone on welfare, should the rich pay more taxes? of course they'll say yes. As a frequent flier i am disgusted that the federal government feels they have the right to do a strip search of every passenger in order for them to fly. there is a little piece of paper called the constitution where the 4th amendment that says they don't have that right. What disgusts me is that people are so ready to give away their freedoms which once gone, will never be given back. As far as I am concerned, this is the last straw. I have written a letter to my Senator and suggest everyone who is as outraged as I am do the same. Needless to say I'll be opting out on my flight tomorrow, like I have every other time I've encountered the full body scanners. Wake up people!

    November 24, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. Nancy Pelosi, the wicked witch of the west, the DemocRAT gift that just keeps on giving

    T'sah from Virginia
    Please stick with our current leader, President Obama, and truthfully, I feel SAFER in ALL aspects with him being our LEADER!!!!

    Please follow Our Dear Leader Obozo over the cliff, all will be well! Trust the Dear Leader Obozo as he knows much better than us what is best for us! You sound like a CULT FOLLOWER!!

    November 24, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. Felix

    I do not see any problem with the Air Port scanners it is safe and most of us go to the beach and wear almost nothing. I never see any body swimming with suit and tie, there are always people that are going to complain and some of them are people that has nothing to do with their lifes. Most people that travel over sea do not complain about the scanners and those that never go out from their small town are making a lot of noise.

    We now have some those crazy claiming that President Obama is Hittler, Nazis and blaming the scanners as a Nazis take over of this country. I believe that there are some body some one that has an interest in defeating Obama and those people are in the shadow and use some morons and losers to create a situation where a black man that is President ot this Nation is accused of being Muslim and now they come with the idea of this man being a Nazis. Nobody that is sane will claim that this man is Nazis this story may be come from some type of lobby that is trying to destroy our Democracy we or most of Americans elected this man in a clear election he is not our President because there was a militay coup and if some people cannot live with that what they should do is vote against him in the next election that is the way America is all about!

    November 24, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  25. Dave

    Wow, that is sad. I guess the majority believes their government is also forthright and always truthful with us, too. Idiocy.

    November 24, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
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