72% Say ‘Cancel Culture’ Is Out of Control
In the wake of controversy surrounding comedian Dave Chappelle, Americans overwhelming say “cancel culture” is out of control, and believe free speech should be protected against censorship.
A new national telephone and online survey by Rasmussen Reports and The National Pulse finds that 72% of American Adults believe cancel culture – a form of censorship that harms the careers and reputations of public figures for doing or saying things that are considered offensive – has gotten out of control. Only 15% disagree, while 12% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Seventy-five percent (75%) believe protecting free speech is more important than protecting people from speech that is offensive. Just 16% disagree.
Chapelle sparked protests last month after the comedian made jokes about transgenderism in his Netflix special The Closer. In a nation divided by politics, concern about cancel culture transcends party lines. Eighty-six percent (86%) of Republicans, 60% of Democrats and 74% of those not affiliated with either major party say cancel culture has gotten out of control.
However, significantly more Democrats (27%) than Republicans (9%) or the unaffiliated (11%) think protecting people from speech that is offensive is more important than protecting free speech.
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The survey of 1,000 U.S. American Adults was conducted on October 27-28, 2021 by Rasmussen Reports and The National Pulse. 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.
Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Americans say they’re familiar with the concept of cancel culture, including 53% who are Very Familiar with the concept. Only 15% are not familiar with it.
Among those who are Very Familiar with the concept, 78% believe cancel culture has gotten out control.
Strong majorities among Americans of every race – 71% of whites, 73% of blacks and 76% of other minorities – think cancel culture has gotten out of control. Similarly, 76% of whites, 73% of blacks and 71% of other minorities believe protecting free speech is more important than protecting people from speech that is offensive.
Slightly more men (75%) than women (70%) think cancel culture is out of control.
While 21% of Americans under 40 believe protecting people from speech that is offensive is more important than protecting free speech, fewer older Americans agree.
Most Americans believe parents are right to be concerned about controversial teaching in public schools, and reject the claim that these are “phony” issues.
The federal Department of Justice is investigating alleged threats against local school officials, but most voters agree that recent parent protests are “clearly protected by the First Amendment.”
Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.
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The survey of 1,000 American Adults was conducted on October 27-28, 2021 by Rasmussen Reports and The National Pulse. 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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