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A New Poll Shows the Apple-Government Fight Has Split America

Apple Supporters Protest In Front Of FBI Headquarters In Washington DCApple Supporters Protest In Front Of FBI Headquarters In Washington DC
A dozen protestors demonstrate outside the FBI’s headquarters in support of Apple.Photograph by Chip Somodevilla — Getty Images

The battle between Apple and the FBI over accessing encrypted data in an iPhone has left Americans evenly divided over the conflict between privacy and national security.

In a new poll conducted by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News, around 42% of 1,200 voters surveyed said Apple (AAPL) should cooperate with the FBI and unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. 47% said Apple shouldn’t cooperate.

Because the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.83 percentage points, the results are essentially split. But it’s the breakdown of voters’ party affiliations during this election season that reveal the real dichotomies:

Among registered voters who identified as Republicans, 57% said they were worried the government wasn’t doing all it could to protect the country’s national security. Of voters who called themselves Democrats, however, 50% said they were worried the government was going too far and would invade the privacy of its citizens. Among independents, 58% said Apple shouldn’t cooperate with the FBI, compared with 28% who said Apple should.


So far, Apple has the support of most of its Silicon Valley peers, including prominent tech companies like Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOG).