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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

The First Amendment has 45 words that provide free speech, a free press, and religious liberty. Most Americans say they approve of the First Amendment free speech protections, but there are some concerning issues once you start asking additional questions.

Nearly all Americans (91%) think First Amendment protection for freedom of speech is a good thing. But it becomes clear that Democrats and younger voters are more likely to support governmental regulation of speech, especially on social media.

For example, just over one-third (34%) of Democratic voters say Americans have “too much freedom.” A much smaller percentage (14.6%) of Republicans agree with this assumption. In fact, Republicans are quite likely (46%) to say Americans have “too little freedom.”

Age is another factor. Those under age 30 are more open to censorship by the government. More than four in ten (42%) feel it is more important for the government to censor to protect national security. A much smaller percentage (26%) of Americans over age 65 felt that way.

Poll respondents were read this famous statement: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Less than a third (31%) of Democratic voters “strongly agreed” with the statement, compared to a majority (51%) of Republicans that approved that sentiment.

Poll respondents were shown headlines and then told they were false. Even when Republicans knew the content was false, they were half as likely as Democrats to say that the content should be removed. And they were more than twice as likely to consider removal as censorship.

This survey shows a significant partisan divide and age divide that makes it easier for the mainstream press and social media to censor unpopular ideas. It is time to go back to the foundation of the First Amendment.viewpoints new web version

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