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Poll: Americans Angry With Justice Department Snooping On The Press

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Internal Revenue Service scandal is just one hot-button issue that the Obama administration is facing. The other is the government investigating reporters.

And new poll new numbers indicate, many Americans are not happy with the Justice Department snooping on the press, CBS 2's Dick Brennan reported Tuesday.

Americans are very supportive of freedom of the press, but a Rasmussen poll finds they are also very worried about how it's applied and suspicious of the Justice Department investigating reporters.

When asked, "Was the Justice Department primarily trying to intimidate the media or protect national security?" those polled said:

* 43 percent say it was an attempt to intimidate the press

* 34 percent say it was primarily out of concern for national security

* 23 percent say they are not sure

"It is partisan, absolutely. Democrats right now say there is too much freedom of the press. Republicans now say there is too much concern about national security. If George W. Bush was in the White House those numbers would be reversed," pollster Scott Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen said largely Americans find the balance okay, but they are perhaps much more skeptical of everyone's motives. When asked, "In the U.S. today is the balance too much in favor of freedom of the press or too much in favor of national security?" those polled said:

* 28 percent say the balance is too much in favor of the press

* 32 percent say it's too much in favor of national security

* 25 percent say it's just right.

* 14 percent say they are not sure

"Voters don't trust political leaders, but they are not sure they trust the media, either, so there are really no good players in this from a lot of people's perspective," Rasmussen said.

And when asked a question about trusting government, 30 percent say it's a protector of individual rights, while 56 percent say it's a threat to individual rights.

Rasmussen said the administration will watch the numbers.

"If it goes beyond the partisan basis and Democrats begin to get concerned then Democrats will be in trouble," Rasmussen said.

One thing is clear: poll numbers indicate Americans are watching the government and the press, as 70 percent say they are following these stories closely or somewhat closely.

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