WASHINGTON (AP) Fewer than half of Americans know the purpose of the Patriot Act, and the more they know about it the less they like it, according to a poll released Monday.

Fewer than half of those polled, 42%, are able to correctly identify the law’s main purpose of enhancing surveillance procedures for federal law enforcement agencies, according to the poll conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut.

Almost two-thirds of all Americans, 64%, said they support the Patriot Act. But support dropped to 57% among those who could accurately identify the intent of the legislation.

The survey was intended to take a closer look at the high levels of public support the Patriot Act has gotten in various polls, said Samuel Best, the center’s director.

“The Patriot Act has been a very visible piece of legislation,” Best said. “We wanted to see if people had an understanding of the act that differentiated it from the war on terrorism generally.”

“Most people don’t distinguish the Patriot Act from the war on terror in general,” Best said. (MORE)


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