80% Say Allowing Offensive, Inaccurate Free Speech Better Than Giving Government Power to Decide

Given a choice between allowing free speech even though it is sometimes offensive and inaccurate or having the government determine what speech should be allowed, 80% of voters prefer free speech. A Scott Rasmussen national survey found that just 9% think it would be better to let the government decide.

The free speech option is supported by at least 70% of every measured demographic group.

An earlier survey found that 49% were more worried about restricting free speech than the spread of fake news and misinformation. Thirty-eight percent (38%) took the opposite view.

Hesitation about granting government the power to determine what speech is allowed is deeply ingrained in American culture. One reason for this may be that 59% continue to see the federal government as a special interest group. Additionally, just 34% believe the federal government today supports the founding ideals of Freedom, Equality, and Self-governance.

Over the past year, many media outlets dismissed suggestions that the coronavirus began in a Wuhan, China laboratory. Some social media outlets even blocked discussion of it. Despite those efforts 66% of voters think it’s likely the virus came from a lab leak. That possibility is now being explored by the federal government.

The desire to keep government officials out of key decision making positions was highlighted by the fact that 62% Believe wanted restaurant owners to decide whether a vaccine passport is needed at their business. Just 26% wanted the government to decide.

Other recent finding show that just 25% are okay with Christians imposing their views on society. Just 19% think atheists should be allowed to impose their own views. And 65% believe America is still the Land of Opportunity.

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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 June 3-5, 2021. Field work for the survey was conducted by RMG Research, Inc. Most respondents were contacted online or via text while 237 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, internet usage, 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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