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02/17/2014 08:11 EST | Updated 04/19/2014 05:59 EDT

When do American liberals and tea partiers think alike? When they're angry at the NSA

WASHINGTON - Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency are uniting an unlikely combination — tea partiers and liberals.

They're on opposite sides of the political divide. But people to the right and left of mainstream America are sounding a lot alike on this issue.

An Associated Press-GfK poll shows that when compared with moderate Republicans or Democrats, tea party supporters and liberals are significantly more likely to oppose sweeping collection of people's telephone and Internet data.

President Barack Obama is a point of division in the anti-surveillance coalition.

Eight in 10 tea partiers dislike how he's handled the issue. Only about half of liberals disapprove.

By a 2-to-1 margin, tea-party supporters and liberals say the government should put protecting citizens' rights and freedoms ahead of protecting them from terrorists.