“You’ve heard TSA say how most passengers support the use of our Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT),” a TSA blogger wrote earlier this month on the agency’s website. “Well, this time you don’t have to hear it from us. You can read a recent public poll that was conducted by CBS News where 4 in 5 polled support TSA’s use of AIT.”
That was last week. This week, only two out of three poll respondents are willing to go through a TSA backscatter, or full body X-ray machine, in which no amount of layering can obscure one’s nether regions from the concerned eyes of the Transportation Security Administration and its modestly trained minions.
The gloating, the claims that Americans must submit if they want to stay safe, the accusations (made mostly by the left and directed mostly at the right) of a ginned-up “outrage orgy,” pale in comparison to the fact that last week, 81% of Americans were fine with the X-ray machines, and this week only 64% will tolerate them.
The Washington Post and ABC News, which conducted the poll, wrote in their analysis that “results in this poll mark the public’s longstanding emphasis on security over privacy,” as “sixty-four percent support the use of the scanning machines, even though they produce x-ray images of a passenger’s unclothed body that security officials can see. Half as many are opposed, and ‘strong’ supporters outnumber strong opponents, also by 2-1.”
Nowhere in the analysis, however, do WaPo/ABC pollsters measure their findings against those of CBS from just a week earlier.
And while CBS didn’t ask poll respondents about the TSA’s aggressive alternative to the bodyscan machines — a genital- and breast-intensive pat-down — WaPo/ABC did: “While 48 percent see the new pat-downs as justified, 50 percent say they go too far – including a majority, 54 percent, of people who fly at least once a year.”
And it’s not just that a majority of Americans don’t want to be touched, a plurality absolutely loathe the idea: “Strength of sentiment runs negatively on this issue: Among all adults 37 percent are strongly opposed, vs. 29 percent who strongly support the pat-down rule.”