A new HuffPost/YouGov poll has found that while Americans are divided in their opinion of how President Barack Obama is handling the job of protecting the country against terrorism, they are more likely to give Obama bad marks when it comes to protecting constitutional rights.
According to the survey, 16 percent of Americans say Obama has done an excellent job at protecting the U.S. from terrorism, while 29 percent say he's done a good job, 20 percent say he's done only a fair job, and 29 percent say he's done a poor job.
But when it comes to protecting Americans' constitutional rights, an even larger proportion -- 45 percent -- said that Obama is doing a poor job. Eleven percent said he's doing an excellent job, 23 percent said a good job, and 15 percent said he's doing only a fair job.
Eighty percent of Republicans and 51 percent of independents, but only 11 percent of Democrats, rated the job Obama is doing protecting constitutional rights as poor. Sixty-eight percent of Democrats rated the job Obama is doing on the issue as either excellent (27 percent) or good (41 percent).
The results come after recent revelations that the NSA is employing broad surveillance programs that collect phone data and information on online activities. While it's possible that respondents who rated Obama as doing a poor job of protecting Americans' rights might have something else in mind, the survey also finds that more think Obama has erred too far in the direction of defending against terrorism than going too far in protecting civil liberties.
Asked how Obama has handled the task of balancing the two, 33 percent said he's erred too far in the direction of defending against terrorism, 15 percent said he's gone too far in defending civil liberties, and 30 percent said he's struck about the right balance.
A 55 percent majority of Democrats in the poll said that Obama has struck the right balance, while 20 percent said he had erred too far in defending against terrorism and 6 percent said he had erred too far in protecting civil liberties. Republicans, on the other hand, were in broad agreement that Obama has not struck the right balance (only 10 percent said he had) but divided over what he was doing wrong -- 35 percent said he had erred in the direction of protecting against terrorism, and 31 percent said he had erred in the direction of protecting civil liberties.
Forty-one percent of independents said Obama was erring too far in defending against terrorism, while 11 percent said so about civil liberties and 23 percent said he had struck the right balance.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted June 7-8 among 1,000 adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.