By Mario Trujillo
Only about one-third of U.S. voters support a presidential pardon for Edward Snowden, according to a new online poll.
A Morning Consult survey released Tuesday found 33 percent support pardoning Snowden, but a plurality, 43 percent, oppose it. Another 24 percent had no opinion.
Republicans are most likely to oppose a pardon. Fifty-six percent of GOP voters said Snowden should not get a pardon, compared with 38 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of independents.
After exposing a number of secret U.S. surveillance programs in a trove of leaked documents to journalists, Snowden fled to Hong Kong and now lives in Russia. The revelations spurred a number of government reforms, including passage of the USA Freedom Act earlier this year.
The former National Security Agency contractor has expressed an interest in coming back to the U.S. but maintains the nature of the espionage charges means he would not get a fair trial.
The White House stood behind its refusal to pardon Snowden last month when responding to a petition signed by 167,000 people who called for leniency. Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union have also called for clemency.
“If he felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and — importantly — accept the consequences of his actions,” White House counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco said.
A majority — 53 percent — believes the U.S. should pursue a criminal case against Snowden, compared with 26 percent who oppose it. Another 21 percent had no opinion.
The online poll surveyed 2,069 registered voters from July 31 through Aug. 3. It has a 2 percentage point margin of error.