The new poll finds 46 percent believe the NSA electronic tracking program is more likely to “hurt law-abiding Americans by using private information improperly.” Almost as many — 44 percent — think it is more likely to “help catch terrorists and protect Americans.”

That’s a reversal from 2006 — five years into the war on terrorism and halfway through former Republican President George W. Bush’s second term. At that time, more voters thought the program would help catch terrorists (49 percent) than hurt Americans (40 percent).

Over half of Democrats today say the program will help catch terrorists (55 percent), while in 2006 over half said the opposite (52 percent).

The same shift is seen among Republicans: a slim 51-percent majority thinks the NSA efforts will hurt Americans, while previously a 70-percent majority said it would help catch terrorists (May 2006).