A shift has taken place since the lockdown of Boston. In two polls, the results are the same: more Americans fear the government more than they fear terrorism. One poll was taken by Fox News. The other was taken by the Washington Post.
This is new. Here is the question: “Would you be willing to give up some of your personal freedom in order to reduce the threat of terrorism?” On April 16, 45% answered “no,” while 43% said “yes.”
In May, 2001, before the 9-11 attack, it was 40% “no,” and 30% “yes.” Then it shifted after 9-11. About 70% said “yes.”
Then it fell. It was down to 54% in 2006.
The Fox poll broke it down by political affiliation. The poll revealed that independents — the swing voters — were by far the most opposed to the government. About 51% of Democrats said they would surrender more freedom to the government, while 43% of Republicans would. Independents were far lower: 29%.In future elections, candidates who want to pull swing voters would be wise to position themselves as skeptical of the government’s expansion of power in the name of fighting terrorism.