54% Favor Limited Government Over Majority Rule

Fifty-four percent (54%) of voters believe that it is more important to place some general limits on what the government can do rather than ensuring that the government can do whatever a majority of voters support. A ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that 46% disagree and take the opposite view.

There are modest differences of opinion along partisan and demographic lines. For example, 58% of Republicans and 56% of Independent voters place a higher priority on limiting government. Fifty-three percent (53%) of Democrats are more interested in ensuring that the government can do whatever a majority of voters support (see crosstab results).

However, when the trade-off is presented in terms having the government do what a majority of voters support or respecting the individual rights and freedoms of all Americans, only 30% want majority rule. Seventy percent (70%) say respecting the individual rights and freedoms of all Americans is more important. On this question, there are very few demographic and partisan differences. Protecting rights and freedoms is a higher priority for 70% of Republicans, 70% of Democrats, and 71% of Independent voters.

Those views are consistent with earlier data showing that freedom is more important than democracy.

The survey also found that 74% believe there should be Constitutional limits on the types of laws that Congress and the president can pass. Only 9% disagree.

However, only 55% are aware that such Constitutional limits exist. Fourteen percent (14%) believe that the president and Congress can pass whatever laws they like. Thirty-one percent (31%) are not sure.

America’s cultural commitment to freedom is highlighted in data released earlier showing that 93% of voters agree with a sentiment sometimes defined as the American Creed: Every American should have the right to live their own life as they see fit, so long as they respect the rights of others to do the same.

However, while cherishing the ideal, there are doubts about how well we live out that creed. Only 49% believe that most Americans respect the right of other people to live their own life as they see fit. Just 32% believe that it respects the right of every American to live their own life as they see fit.

Other data shows that 50% of voters nationwide believe that the rights we enjoy as Americans were given to us by the government and the Constitution.  Another 50% believe we were endowed by our Creator with certain rights that no government can take away.

That cultural commitment to freedom is highlighted in data released earlier showing that 93% of voters agree with a sentiment sometimes defined as the American Creed: Every American should have the right to live their own life as they see fit, so long as they respect the rights of others to do the same.

However, while cherishing the ideal, there are doubts about how well we live out that creed. Only 49% believe that most Americans respect the right of other people to live their own life as they see fit. Just 32% believe that it respects the right of every American to live their own life as they see fit.

ScottRasmussen.com releases new public opinion data every day relating to topics in the news and other items of interest. Please sign up to receive the latest data and insights each day via email. 

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The national survey of 1,001 Registered Voters was conducted February 26-27, 2019 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.

Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).

 

Posted in Poll Results

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