If it's in the News, it's in our Polls. Public opinion polling since 2003.


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

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.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.  

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.

Want to read more?

Become a Rasmussen Reader to read the article

Have an account?

Log In

Become a Reader


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.