To make a society function properly, there is some natural tension between promoting individual freedom and protecting an orderly society. Fifty-four percent (54%) of voters believe it is more important for government to protect individual freedom while 46% want the emphasis on protecting an orderly society.
However, the balancing act is complicated because voters want the government to err on the side of using too little power rather than too much. A ScottRasmussen.com survey found that 68% see a government that is too powerful as a bigger threat than one that is not powerful enough. Only 32% are more worried about a government with too little power.
Data released earlier showed that just 32% believe the federal government respects to right of every American to live in freedom. Only 33% believe the U.S. currently offers liberty and justice for all.
On the positive side, voters recognize that more than government is needed to create a functioning society. Seventy-one percent (71%) recognize that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have had a bigger impact on the world than all eight U.S. presidents who have served since the founding of Apple and Microsoft.
This survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted for ScottRasmussen.com on August 20-21, 2018 by HarrisX, a leading research firm specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). The statistical margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. It is presented to enhance the public dialogue through data-driven analysis that explores the underlying currents of public opinion (read About Us).
Men are a bit more likely than women to prioritize freedom over order. Generally, though, there are few dramatic differences among various demographic groups.(see crosstabs).
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Recent releases have found that 64% believe that freedom is more important than democracy. Among the freedoms confirmed in the Bill of Rights, voters rate the freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, and freedom of religion as the most important. A separate column explained how the freedom to walk away holds politicians accountable.
Other recent releases have explored underlying attitudes about Socialism, Universal Basic Income, and Free Markets. Also, 10 years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered a global financial crisis, 58% of voters still want to break up the nation’s biggest banks.
Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).