Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Most voters think the most important role for government is to protect their individual rights.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey gave Likely U.S. Voters three options in asking what the primary purpose of a government is in an ideal world, and 59% say it’s to protect individual rights and freedom.
Twenty-four percent (24%) believe a government’s primary purpose is to ensure fairness and social justice, while 10% say it’s to manage the economy. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
But nearly half (48%) of American Adults see the government today as a threat to individual rights rather than a protector of those rights.
Not surprisingly, perceptions on the role of government vary dramatically along ideological lines. Eighty percent (80%) of conservatives see government’s chief role as protecting individual rights and freedom. However, a plurality (48%) of liberals put insuring fairness and social justice at the top of the list. Among moderate voters, a plurality (48%) agrees with the conservative perspective with a focus on protecting individual rights.
The widest gap as is often the case is between the Political Class and Mainstream voters. Seventy percent (70%) of those in the Mainstream say the primary role of a government is to protect individual rights. Fifty-one percent (51%) of Political Class voters say insuring fairness and social justice should come first.
The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on December 19-20, 2010 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.Rasmussen subscribers can log in to read the rest of this article.
OR8-Weeks FREE to our top-tier Platinum Service Subscription. Limited Time Offer > Sign Up Now!
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.
To learn more about our methodology, click here.