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Want Edward Snowden pardoned? You're in the minority, say pollsters

More than half of America leans toward criminal charges for Fast Eddy / hero whistlebower

By Shaun Nichols, 12 Aug 2015

Despite the best efforts of the internet, US citizens favor the filing of criminal charges against Edward Snowden, say researchers.

A poll [PDF] of 2,069 American voters carried out by research firm Morning Consult found that 53 per cent of the public want Snowden to face trial, and those who support the whistleblower make up just 26 per cent of the voting public. Furthermore, 29 per cent of those polled would "strongly support" criminal charges against Snowden.

The study polled registered voters of various ages, races, household income, etc., on a number of general issues (such as "is the country headed in the right direction?") and the query "Do you support or oppose the US government pursuing a criminal case against Edward Snowden for leaking classified information about the way the NSA conducts its intelligence gathering?"

That question found 53 per cent of Americans in favor of criminal charges, 26 per cent opposing charges, and 21 per cent (430 of those surveyed) having no opinion on the matter.

A former NSA contractor who disclosed details on government surveillance programs, Snowden has been on the run for two years and is currently hiding out in Russia. While Snowden has offered to return to the US, he wants Uncle Sam to guarantee a fair trial, a concept the two sides are not likely to agree on any time soon.

A "We the People" petition on Snowden's behalf drummed up 167,955 signatures, but was ultimately rejected by the White House, who maintain that what Snowden did was very much against the law.

If the Morning Consult poll is to be believed, the American public is not on Snowden's side. The survey found that 57 per cent of males and 49 per cent of females were in favor of criminal charges, and 56 per cent of those who identified as Democrat and 64 per cent of Republicans were in favor of criminal proceedings.

51 per cent of those who identify as "liberal" want Fast Eddy taken to court, and 60 per cent of self-identified conservatives feel the same way. Feelings against Snowden only increased with educational level. Those with less than a college degree were 51 per cent in favor of criminal charges, while those with a bachelor's degree were 57 per cent in favor, and post-grads want Snowden in court at a 59 per cent clip. ®

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