Sixty-four percent (64%) of voters believe it is more dangerous to let government to define hate speech than to allow inappropriate hate speech that offends many people. A ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that just 36% disagree and believe hate speech itself is more dangerous.
Other data found that 76% believe freedom of speech includes the right to say things that others find offensive.
These views are broadly shared across generational, partisan, and ideological lines. The results are consistent with data released earlier showing that 68% believe a too powerful government is a bigger threat than one with too little power.
Despite the reluctance about government intervention, 49% believe it is possible to come up with a definition of hate speech that is broadly accepted by everyone in society. Most voters under 50 hold this view while most over 50 disagree (see question wording and crosstabs). ScottRasmussen.com will conduct additional research on how voters define hate speech in the near future.
The national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted October 9-10, 2018 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.
The survey also found that 82% of voters are at least somewhat concerned that freedom of speech allows false rumors and statements to be spread. That includes 36% who are Very Concerned. On this topic, Republicans are more concerned than Democrats or Independents.
However, despite that concern, 64% believe it is better to live with the rumors than limit freedom of speech.
Earlier surveys showed that freedom of speech is seen by voters as the most important right confirmed in the Bill of Rights. Sixty-four percent (64%) of voters believe that freedom is more important than democracy.
All data presented by ScottRasmussen.com is to enhance the public dialogue through data-driven analysis that explores the underlying currents of public opinion (read About Us). Receive the latest insights each day by signing up for Scott Rasmussen’s Morning Update.
Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).