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Americans Still Oppose Ban on Hate Speech

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Adults nationwide may believe hate is growing in America, but that doesn’t mean they want the government interfering with free speech.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Adults shows that just 28% say it would be a good idea for United States to ban hate speech like some European nations and Canada do.  A majority (54%) opposes a ban on hate speech. Another 18% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Three-out-of-four adults (74%) say allowing free speech without government interference is better than letting the government decide what types of hate speech should be banned. Just 11% hold the opposite view that the government should be able to decide what types of speech should be outlawed. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.

Even more adults (81%) say giving people the right to free speech is more important than making sure no one is offended by what others say. Just 11% believe it is more important to make sure no one is offended.

Hate speech has been widely defined as any language that disparages an individual or a group of people on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.

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The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on April 24-25, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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