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47% See U.S. Justice System As Fair To Most Americans, 34% Don't

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Less than half of adults nationwide believe the U.S. system of justice is fair to most Americans. But far more think the problem with the system is not that the innocent are treated unfairly but that the guilty go free.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 47% of Adults believe the U.S. system of justice is fair to most Americans, representing an eight-point drop from a year ago.  One in three (34%) think the system is not fair to most, up from 29% a year ago. Another 19% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Just 36% believe the justice system is fair to poor Americans, down from 40% last year. Forty-three percent (43%) say the system is not fair to poor Americans, but 21% aren’t sure.

Forty-six percent (46%) of adults believe the U.S. justice system is fair to black and Hispanic Americans, down from 50% in 2010. Thirty-three percent (33%) say the justice system is not fair to those Americans. Again, 21% are undecided.

Yet by a 64% to 19% margin, Americans believe the bigger problem for the U.S. law enforcement and legal system is that too many criminals are set free rather than that too many innocent people are arrested. Seventeen percent (17%) aren’t sure which problem is bigger. Those findings are nearly identical to those found a year ago.

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The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on June 25-26, 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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