Poll numbers on NSA
They're not particularly encouraging, but also not particularly surprising:
December 28, 2005--Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans believe the National Security Agency (NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that just 23% disagree.This poll is a bit problematic because, as a commenter at DU points out, the issue isn't whether or not the NSA should be allowed to wiretap, it's whether they should be able to do it without a warrant, or more generally whether they should be allowed to wiretap illegally. Ask that, and your numbers might turn out differently.
Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Americans say they are following the NSA story somewhat or very closely.
But we might as well accept that there will always be a significant portion of the electorate that will be willing to sign off on almost any use of state power, so long as it is couched in terms of national security. Most people aren't civil libertarians; couldn't give a shit about civil liberties, actually - they figure if you're not doing anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about.
This thing is already being framed in a manner similar to the Iran-Contra scandal: President breaks the law, but he does it to protect Americans. It's horseshit in both cases, of course, but as long as Bush is seen as overstepping his authority for the sake of 'national security' (again, horseshit), we should expect to see a majority of Americans supporting his actions. The re-election of Bush, a terrible president by any measure, proved that half the electorate will sign off on just about anything, as long as they're told that it will help protect them from The Terrorists.