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Poll: Most Minnesotans approve of NSA data collection, mixed on whistleblower Snowden

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Most Minnesotans --regardless of age, income or party affiliation -- approve of the National Security Agency collecting data on cell phones and Internet usage, according to the latest Minnesota Poll.

The poll, conducted by the Star Tribune, surveyed 800 Minnesota adults between June 11-13 via landline or cell phone. The poll has a 3.5 percent margin of error.

The main question of the poll read:

"For years, with a court’s approval, the National Security Agency has been collecting data on phone calls and Internet usage by US citizens in an effort to spot terrorist activity. Do you approve or disapprove of this data collection?"

Some 57 percent of respondents said they approve, while 33 percent disapproved and 10 percent said they weren't sure. Men approve by 54 percent, and 60 percent of women polled approved.

There's a marked contrast between respondents who identified themselves as Republicans (51 percent) and those who are DFL/Democrats (68 percent), but still a majority approval for each. Those who identified themselves as Independents or have no party affiliation still approved by 50 percent each.

In response to a question about Edward Snowden saying he’s the one who leaked the information about the security agency’s data collection, results are mixed on "his decision to reveal the existence of these programs." 42 percent of Minnesotans approved, while 46 percent disapproved and 12 percent undecided.

As for the man at the top of all this, Barack Obama, more Minnesotans than not have a "favorable impression" of the President, 43 percent to 39 percent "unfavorable." When asked about Obama's "job performance as President," respondents are nearly split, with 47 percent approving and 43 percent disapproving.

The public still doesn't have much empathy for the media, apparently. In a question about the Justice Department seeking phone records of news agencies like the Associated Press and Fox News, 49 percent believed the actions are "justified," while 34 percent do not.

The approval goes to 73 percent among Democrats and 60 percent of women.

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