July 7, 2006

Survey: Region views on government
surveillance mixed, politically-charged

Full Report (pdf)

A majority of Sacramento region residents worry government policies to combat terrorist activities excessively restrict civil liberties, according to a survey released today by Sacramento State.

Fifty-six percent of residents surveyed are concerned that new anti-terrorism laws will erode civil liberties, with views strongly skewed along party lines—72 percent of Democrats saying they are worried compared to 34 percent of Republicans, who are more concerned the United States will not enact strong anti-terrorism laws.

And while most of the region’s residents are opposed to government monitoring of the e-mails and phone calls of American citizens, the number in favor is creeping upward. Thirty percent now say they are willing to allow monitoring, up from 23 percent in 2002. They are also more willing to support surveillance of non-U.S. citizens (52 percent) than American citizens (30 percent).

Those are just some of the findings of a recent survey about civil liberties in the “2006 Sacramento State Annual Survey of the Region,” conducted Feb. 4 to March 5 by sociology professor Amy Liu and more than 30 students through the University’s Institute for Social Research. The survey covers El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties.

Among the other findings:

The survey included 1,122 randomly selected adults in the Sacramento Region who were interviewed in English and Spanish. It has a margin of error of 3 percent.

More information is available by contacting Liu at amyliuus@yahoo.com or (916) 278-7572.

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