US anti-terror too lax: poll

2010-01-14 22:17

Washington - Americans find US anti-terror policies too lax, and believe that the government should err toward increasing security over individual privacy, a new survey found on Thursday.

More than six respondents in ten to a Quinnipiac University poll - 63% to 25% - said US anti-terror policies lean too far toward protecting civil rights rather than national security.

By 84% to 13%, respondents said they support greater use of airport body scanners, despite the privacy concerns voiced by some opponents. And by 86% to 11%, they said they would support new airport security measures even if it led to longer travel delays.

The poll also found that public support for the war in Afghanistan has risen and is now at 59% in favour and 41% against, measurably stronger than in just December when it was at 51% in favour and 41% against.

Respondents said they disagreed with President Barack Obama's plan to try suspected terrorists in civilian courts, expressing a preference for military tribunals by 59% to 34%.

But 48% to 44%, Americans polled said they support Obama's overall handling of terror.

The American public struck a decidedly more hawkish tone in the weeks since the failed Christmas Day bombing plot against a US aircraft, saying by 52% to 44% that law enforcement should be able to single out people who look Middle-Eastern for screening and questions.

More than three out of four said they believe it very likely (35%) or somewhat likely (43%) that there will be a terror attack with a large number of casualties in the United States in the near future.

The survey of 1 767 registered US voters was conducted from January 5 to 11 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3% points.