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By the numbers: Tea partyers, liberals agree on Snowden, protecting people's privacy from NSA

Liberals and tea partyers finally have something to agree on.

They strike remarkably similar themes when asked about National Security Agency programs that sweep up ordinary Americans' telephone and Internet data. Highlights from a recent Associated Press-GfK poll about NSA surveillance:

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Q: Which is the more important goal for the government: Protecting the rights and freedoms of U.S. citizens or making sure that U.S. citizens are safe from being harmed by terrorists?

Percentage who say protecting rights is more important:

Tea party supporters: 69 percent

Liberals: 67 percent

Republicans who don't support the tea party: 54 percent

Democrats who aren't liberals: 51 percent

U.S. overall: 61 percent

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Q: Did former NSA contractor Edward Snowden do the right thing or the wrong thing in revealing classified information?

Percentage who say he did the right thing:

Tea party supporters: 52 percent

Liberals: 49 percent

Republicans who don't support the tea party: 28 percent

Democrats who aren't liberals: 36 percent

U.S. overall: 40 percent

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Q: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the NSA is handling its intelligence-gathering mission?

Percentage who disapprove:

Tea party supporters: 67 percent

Liberals: 57 percent

Republicans who don't support the tea party: 52 percent

Democrats who aren't liberals: 48 percent

U.S. overall: 54 percent

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Q: Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Barack Obama is handling the NSA's surveillance policies?

Percentage who disapprove:

Tea party supporters: 82 percent

Liberals: 52 percent

Republicans who don't support the tea party: 74 percent

Democrats who aren't liberals: 38 percent

U.S. overall: 59 percent

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How many Republicans support the tea party?

58 percent

How many Democrats call themselves liberals?

38 percent

In the U.S. overall:

20 percent say they are liberals, regardless of which political party they may prefer

27 percent say they support the tea party movement, regardless of which political party they may prefer

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Source: AP-GfK poll conducted by GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications Jan. 17-21. It is based on online interviews of 1,060 adults who are members of GfK's nationally representative KnowledgePanel.

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Online: AP-GfK Poll: http://www.ap-gfkpoll.com

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