The Newseum Institute has been doing an annual national survey of American attitudes about the First Amendment for the last 19 years. The survey is titled “The State of the First Amendment: 2016” and the results are scary.
According to the survey 39 percent of Americans are unable to name any of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Only 54 percent of Americans know that free speech is guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Only 17 percent of Americans identified religious freedom as one of their First Amendment rights.
Only 12 percent of participants identified the right of assembly as a First Amendment right.
Only 11 percent of participants identified freedom of the press as a First Amendment right.
Only 2 percent of participants identified the right to petition as a First Amendment rights.
According to the study, 21 percent believe the First Amendment “goes too far in the rights it guarantees,” while 75 percent disagree.
A similar 2015 survey by Pew Research Center found that 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 35 support government censorship of “statements that are offensive to minority groups.”
The survey then went on to ask more specific questions related to the First Amendment.
The results show that half of Americans either mildly or strongly agree that, “A government official should be required to provide marriage certificates to same sex couples even if that official objects to same sex marriage on religious grounds.” 43 percent disagreed with this statement.
47 percent of Americans agreed that students should be allowed to say whatever they want on college campuses, even if it’s offensive, while 40 percent disagreed.
35 percent of Americans said that high schoolers should have the freedom to offend their peers, while 62 percent disagreed.
The full survey can be seen here:
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