Transport Airports

Poll Shows Majority of Americans Believe TSA PreCheck Hurts Security


Apr 24, 2014 5:00 am

Skift Take

Should there be stiffer requirements to get into the TSA PreCheck program as it expands, and the results of the Harris Poll suggest? It’s not a bad idea, resources-permitting.

— Dennis Schaal

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Samantha Shankman  / Skift

The TSA PreCheck line is empty at Orlando International Airport. Samantha Shankman / Skift

A majority of Americans in a new Harris Poll believe participants in the TSA’s PreCheck program should pass a criminal background check to qualify, and also think that the less-rigorous screening means some potential threats will be missed.

The online Harris Poll of 2,234 adults conducted March 12 to 17 found that 68% of respondents believe that the TSA PreCheck program, which enables qualifying passengers to proceed faster through separate security lanes without removing their shoves, and their laptops from bags during screenings will make it easier for potential threats to go undetected.

That 68% figure includes both people who didn’t fly in the past year or might be frequent flyers.

In fact, 71% of respondents who had taken no airline flights in the past year thought PreCheck would compromise security, but that number was 65% for people who took one to five flights, and 54% for travelers who who flew more than five times.

Respondents among these same groups thought it is unfair to treat passengers differently from a security perspective (60% versus 50% and 40%, respectively).

In addition to passing criminal background checks to qualify for TSA PreCheck, respondents thought passengers should have to submit a fingerprint scan (73%), be a U.S. citizen (70%), have their past travel habits analysed (56%), pass a drug test (37%), and be willing to have their family and social connections vetted (35%).

Looking at security screening at U.S. airports overall, and not just TSA PreCheck, fewer than half (48%) of the respondents indicated that screenings are an effective deterrent to hijackings, and 50% believe that TSA screening makes air travel safer.

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