Americans Are Souring on Mask Mandates and Warrantless Surveillance: Poll
The share of Americans who support mask mandates is down 20 percentage points since last December, according to a new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll. A slight majority still favor mandates, with 17 percent saying they somewhat support them and 38 professing strong support. But this is down from an overwhelming majority of 75 percent support in December 2020.
Meanwhile, the percentage of poll respondents who are somewhat or strongly opposed climbed 15 percent to 27 percent, with 17 percent now strongly opposed. Some 18 percent of respondents now and 11 percent then said they neither favor nor oppose mask mandates.
The poll question does not specify whether it’s referring to government-imposed mask mandates or mask mandates by private businesses.
The A.P.-NORC poll—conducted August 12–16 among 1,729 adults, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points—contains a lot of interesting information about attitudes toward pandemic response and other issues.
According to the poll, Americans have also soured on warrantless surveillance and war on terror measures.
“In particular, 46% of Americans say they oppose the U.S. government responding to threats against the nation by reading emails sent between people outside of the U.S. without a warrant,” notes A.P. “That’s compared to just 27% who are in favor. In an AP-NORC poll conducted one decade ago, more favored than opposed the practice, 47% to 30%.”
And a majority now oppose government listening without a warrant to telephone calls made outside the U.S. or the “monitoring without a warrant of searches on the internet, including those by U.S. citizens, to watch for suspicious activities.” In the latest poll, 50 percent opposed the latter and 44 percent opposed the former—up from 37 percent opposition to warrantless search surveillance and 34 percent opposition to warrantless phone call surveillance in a summer 2011 poll.
People are also less enthusiastic about racial and ethnic profiling at the airport (61 percent now opposed, up from 53 percent) and about “random searches involving full-body scans or pat downs of people boarding commercial airlines flights”—though opposition to the latter remains disturbingly low (30 percent now opposed, up from 21 percent).
But not all sorts of government spying have become less popular. Slightly more people now than a decade ago support the installation of surveillance cameras in public places (18 percent opposed, down from 20 percent), and support for government listening to calls made in the U.S. is about on par (with opposition at 66 percent now and 65 percent then).
You can find the full results here.
A devastating look at how the U.S. “helped” out women in Afghanistan. “In the countryside, the endless killing of civilians turned women against the occupiers who claimed to be helping them,” reports The New Yorker in a fascinating and heartbreaking long read.
The story follows Shakira, a woman living in rural Afghanistan, and her experiences with Soviet rule, the Mujahedeen, the Taliban, and occupying U.S. forces. All had their downsides for rural Afghan women and families—with American and allied troops perhaps causing the most d
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