The Results Are In: How Americans Really Feel About Airport Security Procedures

Two brand new surveys show Americans would rather go through full body scanners than submit themselves to the Transportation Security Administrations new pat-down procedure, which allows screeners to run their hands over breasts, buttocks and genital areas to search for bombs and other prohibited items.

The first survey found half of Americans believe the enhanced pat-downs at airports cross the line. On the other hand, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed support the use of full body scanners, according to the Washington Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday.

USA Today/Gallup did some research as well, finding the pat-down procedure angered 57 percent of adult fliers and half of those surveyed felt the new, "enhanced" pat-down procedure was no more effective than previous methods.

The USA Today/Gallup survey, conducted November 19-21st, also found most fliers are not bothered by full body scanning machines. Still, forty-two percent of those surveyed say the procedure angers or bothers them.

According to the survey, around 67 percent of adult fliers say body scanners are more effective than previous search methods.

"We are constantly evaluating and adapting our security measures, and as we have said from the beginning, we are seeking to strike the right balance between privacy and security," the TSA said in a response statement to USA Today/Gallup.

"We cannot forget that less than one year ago a suicide bomber tried to bring down a plane over Detroit," the statement continued.

Both polls were published just before the Thanksgiving holiday period, the busiest travel time of the year when 24 million people are expected to take to the skies. With a protest asking travelers refuse to be screened via body scanners, National Opt-Out Day, supposedly taking off today, travelers are preparing for the worst when it comes to long security lines.

On a normal day, the TSA screens around 2 million passengers. Fewer than 2 percent of these travelers-or 40,000 travelers-are given pat-downs.

USA Today/Gallup's survey was based on telephone interviews with 757 adult fliers. The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points. The Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted on November 21st through a random sample of 514 adults. The margin of error is five percentage points.

Photo by iowa_spirit_walker on flickr.

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