A day old but too amazing not to blog. Honestly, if you’d asked me to guess how this poll would have broken, I probably would have said 12/54.
Second look at crotch patdowns?
Despite recent negative press, a majority of Americans, 54%, think the U.S. Transportation Security Administration is doing either an excellent or a good job of handling security screening at airports. At the same time, 41% think TSA screening procedures are extremely or very effective at preventing acts of terrorism on U.S. airplanes, with most of the rest saying they are somewhat effective…
Just over half of Americans report having flown at least once in the past year. These fliers have a slightly better opinion of the job TSA is doing than those who haven’t flown. Fifty-seven percent of those who have flown at least once and 57% of the smaller group who have flown at least three times have an excellent or good opinion of the TSA’s job performance. That compares with 52% of those who have not flown in the past year.
Interestingly, the data doesn’t change between people who have children at home and people who don’t. Seems that it’s a simple case of the more you fly, the more you get used to (or resign yourself to?) the security gauntlet. And there’s another factor at play. Spot the trend:
Note the gap in that second table. Among ages 18-29, you’ve got 54 percent saying TSA screening is “extremely” or “very” effective; among those over 30, you can’t do better than 40 percent on that question within any of the age demographics listed. Gallup’s explanation for this youth effect is correct, I think: It’s a function of growing up in a post-9/11 world and having your expectations for airport security shaped by the rise of TSA. (Interestingly, 18-29 is also the age group that flew most often, so the “resignation” effect described above may also be contributing to younger passengers’ acceptance of the procedures.) The unfortunate suggestion from this data is that government can get people to go along with lots of intrusive new security measures so long as it’s patient. People who remember what it was like before the “new security” will grumble, but the kids adapt pretty willingly. In hindsight, I wish that Monmouth poll about domestic drones taken back in June had offered a breakdown by age on top of the standard racial/regional splits. Wouldn’t surprise me if younger Americans are more forgiving of that incursion too.