NEW BRUNWICK – While 50 percent of New Jersey residents surveyed in a Rutgers-Eagleton poll said that they would support “any airport security measure,” they don’t all seem to mean it.
When first asked to think about the new full body scans and enhanced pat-down procedures recently implemented, only 39 percent said that they supported “any airport security measure.”
“In the abstract, most people think more airport security is always a good thing,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers. “But when they are given information about specific measures, they are much more dubious across the board. In the abstract people say ‘keep me safe at all costs,’ but when confronted with potential invasions of privacy, they are more willing to balance their own privacy against security issues.”
New Jersey residents objected less to the full body scans than the enhanced pat-down procedures that those opting out of the scans may experience. While 30 percent said that the scans were too intrusive, while 41 percent felt that way about the pat-downs. “Even so, most New Jerseyans would put up with them, believing they enhance security on airplanes,” said Redlawsk.
Only 11 percent of New Jersey residents said that the prospect of going through a full body scan would deter them from flying, while 24 percent felt that way about the pat-down procedures.
The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll was conducted by telephone from Dec. 2-6, with a scientifically selected random sample of 906 New Jersey adults. The margin of error is +/-3.3 percent.
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