A majority of Americans support the US government’s efforts to force Apple to help unlock an iPhone in the probe of last year’s deadly San Bernardino attacks, a poll showed Monday.
The Pew Research Center survey found 51 percent of respondents supported the effort to require Apple to help unlock the iPhone, while 38 percent said Apple should not unlock the phone to ensure the security of its other users. Eleven percent did not offer an opinion.
In the poll taken from February 18-21 — shortly after news broke about the standoff — 75 percent in the survey said they were aware of the deadlock, with 39 percent saying they had heard “a lot” and 36 percent indicating they heard “a little” about it.
Support for the government’s case was highest among the older poll respondents, by a 54-27 percent margin among those 65 or older.
There was little difference between Democrat and Republican respondents, but independents were nearly split on the issue, with 42 percent siding with Apple to 45 percent for the government.
Smartphone owners were in support of the government by a 51-40 percent margin, but among iPhone owners the support was a bit lower at 47-43 percent.
The researchers surveyed 1,002 American adults by mobile or landline telephone. The margin of error for the full sample was estimated at 3.7 percentage points.
US authorities are seeking to enforce an order to require Apple to provide technical assistance to unlock the iPhone of one of the attackers. Apple and its supporters argue that complying would set a precedent that would weaken security for all users.
Related: Industry Reactions to FBI’s Request for iPhone Backdoor