Apologise to allies say US majority, while half disapprove of Snowden leaks

Dr Joel Rogers de WaalAcademic Director, YouGov
October 30, 2013, 1:28 PM GMT+0

A majority of Americans say apologise to allied leaders and believe the revelations will damage US relations with its friends. Half disapprove of the Snowden leaks while 39% support prosecuting the whistleblower - up from 25% after initial revelations.

Recent YouGov polling of American public opinion shows a majority (53%) want President Obama to apologize to allied leaders after revelations from the Edward Snowden files suggested the US government has been spying on over thirty foreign leaders, including the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. This majority included 50% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans.

A larger 78% of Americans think the actions of US intelligence services will damage relationships...

...although Democrats are less pessimistic on this question than Republicans: 58% of Democrats say the damage will be short-term versus 29% saying it will be long-term, compared with 49% versus 39% of Republicans saying the same respectively.

However, many Americans support spying on hostile leaders: 49% say it's acceptable to spy on the Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, 43% say the same for Xi Jinping, China's President and 42% say so for Vladimir Putin, leader of Russia. But only 25% say that it is acceptable to spy on Germany's Angela Merkel.

Meanwhile in term of attitudes to Edward Snowden himself, half of Americans (50%) disapprove of his actions to leak information about US surveillance activities versus a smaller 35% who approve. Our research also shows support for prosecuting Snowden has increased: 27% of respondents supported prosecution after the initial revelations; this increased to 34% after he began seeking Russian asylum in July and has now reached 39%.

Full poll results can be found here and here.