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Americans Still Oppose Ban on Hate Speech

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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