Would a petition to the President to pardon Snowden be popular? What kind of political group believes Snowden should absolutely be punished?
A petition to pardon Snowden on the White House's web site has been reported to pass 100,000 signatures, the threshold required for a response within 30 days. It achieved this in less than two weeks.
Yes, the petition to pardon Snowden is popular . It has met the minimum number of signatures required for the White House to issue a response.
I don't know of any party press releases stating a position that Snowden should be punished, but several Democrats and Republicans have issued such statements.
Two things can be true at the same time.
It can be possible that large numbers of people can believe that what Snowden revealed was wrong, that it deserved to be revealed.
It can also be possible, at the same time, that he violated an oath. That he violated the trust placed in him by his superiors and by those working beside him. (I would also include "under him" but Snowden was not in a command position.) And that large numbers of people, often with large overlap in the first group, think he should be punished for this.
Let's picture, just as an example, some low-level guy who is charged with sending messages for some military intelligence activity. He does not know the ultimate purposes. He does not know who has authorized it. He does not know what is happening outside the small window he has on events. His portion may be real or fake. It may be a naive little testing tap sent to see how the other side is prepared. Or it may be that something serious is happening. Or it could even be that the entire thing is fake and that he is the only person who will see this message that has been specially prepared to identify him as the leak if it does leak.
The group that thinks he should be punished includes all the people who have been exposed, who were just doing their jobs. Military intel folks play in high-stakes situations. Often their lives are at risk. Often the fate of countries literally are at risk. This is the point. The people who were there trying to do their duty are quite properly outraged when somebody leaks. So are any people who care about those people.
That same group may also be quite properly outraged when their superiors are getting up to crap they should not be.