Americans unmoved by Obama’s NSA speech


If President Obama thought he was going to move the needle with his speech on the National Security Agency's surveillance programs last week, he was sorely mistaken.

A new Pew Research Center poll shows not only that most Americans didn't pay attention, but also that those who did don't think Obama's proposals will change anything.

According to the poll, only 8 percent of Americans have "heard a lot" about Obama's proposals, while 41 percent have "heard a little."

If you only ask these two groups of people, 73 percent say Obama's changes will have no impact on protecting people's privacy, and 79 percent say they won't make it more difficult to fight terrorism.

In addition, Americans continue to grow more skeptical of the NSA's phone and Internet surveillance programs, with 53 percent disapproving and 40 percent approving. Even a plurality of Democrats disapprove (48-46), after previously backing the Obama administration.

Americans now say 45-43 that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's leaks served the public interest, but they still say 56-32 that he should be charged with a crime.

President Obama is proposing major changes in U.S. policy on conducting surveillance both in the country and abroad. Here are the highlights from his speech in three minutes. (Nicki DeMarco/The Washington Post)
Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · January 21