While Edward Snowden may see himself as neither a traitor nor a hero but just an American, those surveyed in a recent Reuters Poll feel differently. According to the poll, more Americans see Snowden as a patriot than a traitor.

Roughly one in three Americans say the former security contractor who leaked details of top-secret U.S. surveillance activity is a patriot and should not be prosecuted, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.

Some 23 percent of those surveyed said former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is a traitor while 31 percent said he is a patriot. Another 46 percent said they did not know.

A previously conducted Pew poll, taken before the public had much time to process the story, seemed to suggest Americans didn’t care much about government spying. However the latest poll by Gallup contradicts that view with Americans disapproving of government surveillance and split on Snowden. Which, combined with the Reuters Poll, paints a decidedly different picture of public opinion on government spying and Snowden.

In the Reuters/Ipsos poll, 35 percent of those surveyed said Snowden should not face charges while 25 percent said he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Another 40 percent said they did not know…

Some 45 percent of those surveyed say the program is acceptable under some circumstances, while 37 percent say it is completely unacceptable, the polling found. Only 6 percent say they have no objections to the program.

Hopefully the Reuters and Gallup polls showing disapproval for the government’s police state policies and approval for Snowden will give the demagogues in Washington and beyond a moment of pause before they continue their hysterics over an American citizen seeing something and saying something. Maybe the public’s natural sympathy for whistle-blowing will limit the bombastic rhetoric.

Of course we all know the opposite will occur. Even now there are campaigns being planned to smear Snowden by the worst elements of our society. They know the battle now is for the undecideds in the poll and hope that if they can smear Snowden enough – drive his negatives up – it will not only neutralize him but give cover to the anti-American activities they support. This is just the beginning of the struggle.