49% Believe Restricting Free Speech Worse Than Spreading Fake News, 38% Disagree

Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters worry more about giving the federal government power to restrict free speech than about the dangers of spreading fake news and disinformation. A Scott Rasmussen national survey found that 38% disagree and worry more about fake news.  Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.

The survey results highlight significant partisan and ideological differences. Republicans, by a 60% to 34% margin, are more worried about giving the federal government power to restrict free speech and determine which news is appropriate to publish. Independent voters, by a 46% to 33% margin, tend to share that view. Democrats, however, are divided on the question. A narrow plurality (46%) worry more about fake news while 41% are more concerned about restricting free speech.

Ideologically, most conservatives are more worried about restricting free speech. Moderate and Somewhat Liberal voters are divided, but narrowly express a greater concern about restricting free speech. Very Liberal voters take the opposite view. By a 49% to 39% margin, those voters worry more about the spread of fake news and disinformation.

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Note: Neither Scott Rasmussen, ScottRasmussen.com, nor RMG Research, Inc. have any affiliation with Rasmussen Reports. While Scott Rasmussen founded that firm, he left more than seven years ago and has had no involvement since that time.


The survey of 1,200 Registered Voters was conducted by Scott Rasmussen using a mixed mode approach from February 4-6, 2021. Field work for the survey was conducted by RMG Research, Inc. Most respondents were contacted online or via text while 197 were contacted using automated phone polling techniques. Online respondents were selected from a list of Registered Voters and through a process of Random Digital Engagement. Certain quotas were applied, and the sample was lightly weighted by geography, gender, age, race, education, and political party to reasonably reflect the nation’s population of Registered Voters. Other variables were reviewed to ensure that the final sample is representative of that population.

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