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Airport Full Body Scan Support in Europe

Harris Interactive : 05 March, 2010  (Technical Article)
Polled adults in European nations show strong support for the use of single pose full body scanners as a detection device in airports according to Harris Poll
A new Financial Times/Harris Poll of adults under 65 finds support for increased security measures after the attempted bombing of a plane on Christmas Day. Majorities of those surveyed in the United States (64%), Great Britain (62%), Italy (58%), France (58%), and Germany (53%) as well as 46% of Spaniards and 44% of Chinese all agree that body scanners that X-ray the fill body should be introduced at airports.

These are some of the findings of a Financial Times/Harris Poll conducted online by Harris Interactive among 7,256 adults aged 16-64 in France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain and the United States, adults aged 18-64 in Italy and adults aged 18-60 in China between February 3 and 10, 2010.

The support changes depending on country for other security measures. Seven in ten Italians (71%), two-thirds of Chinese (67%), over three in five Spaniards (63%), half of French adults (50%), just under half of Germans (48%) and 43% of Britons all agree that governments should increase security checks in public places such as parks, shopping centers, and other places where large groups gather. Americans are more divided. While two in five (40%) agree with this idea, 35% do not and one-quarter (26%) neither agree nor disagree.

The public is more divided when it comes to the amount of surveillance of individuals by the government already. Two in five Spaniards (40%), French adults (39%), Britons (39%), and Germans (38%) agree there is too much surveillance by governments. Two in five Italians (38%) feel there is not too much surveillance. Among the Chinese, while 34% agree there is too much surveillance already, 22% disagree and over two in five (43%) neither agree nor disagree. Americans are the most split on this issue. Just over one-third (35%) feel there is not already too much surveillance by the government while 32% agree there is and 33% neither agree nor disagree.

A French government commission has proposed a ban of the Muslim burqa veil which covers the entire female body from head to toe. While a very strong majority of adults in France (70%) are in favor of such a ban, majorities in the other European countries are as well. Almost two-thirds of Spaniards (65%), 63% of Italians, 57% of British adults and 50% of Germans all would like to see such a ban implemented in their country. A majority of Chinese (54%) and 44% of Americans would not like to see such a ban implemented.

Security is an issue that divides people. Clearly, one needs to feel safe and secure when on planes and in public places. At the same time, there is the concern that governments may be going too far with the amount of surveillance they currently have in place. There needs to be the careful balance of what protects their citizens and what doesn't feel as if big brother is always watching.

This FT/Harris Poll was conducted online by Harris Interactive among a total of 7,256 adults aged 16-64 within France (1,093), Germany (1,016), Great Britain (1,097), Spain (1,019), and the United States (1,006), adults aged 18-64 in Italy (1,004) and 18-60 in China (1,021) between February 3 and 10, 2010. Figures for age, sex, education, region and Internet usage were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

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