1 in 4 say there’s ‘too much’ freedom to speak freely
While nearly all Americans support the First Amendment right to free speech, a new poll found some notable exceptions among young adults and gender “nonbinary/other” individuals.
Adults under 30 were more likely than any other age group to say Americans have too much freedom to speak freely, according to the survey conducted earlier this month by RealClear Opinion Research.
Meanwhile, the answers from a small group who identified as “nonbinary” or “other” than male or female differed sharply from all other demographics polled, consistently showing strong opposition to free speech rights.
Spencer Kimball, who directed the poll, told RealClear Politics the public supports the First Amendment right to free speech, with nine in 10 Americans saying it’s a “good thing.”
Additionally, 71 percent said they think people should have the right to say what they believe even if their position is “deeply offensive to most people,” according to the poll.
“This is agreed upon across the demographics, like party affiliation, age and race,” Kimball said.
However, when asked more specific questions about free speech, he said young adults support government censorship at a rate higher than other age groups.
“Those under 30 are most open to censorship by the government,” Kimball told the news outlet.
He pointed to results showing 42 percent of young adults say it’s “more important” that the government protect national security than the right to free speech.
Young adults also are more likely than any other age group to say Americans have “too much freedom to speak freely,” or about one in four, according to the poll. Among gender “nonbinary/other,” the number was even higher with more than half saying Americans enjoy “too much freedom.”
Additionally, only 36 percent of young adults and 13 percent of “nonbinary/other” individuals said they “strongly agree” that Congress should not abridge the freedom of speech or the press, the poll found. That compares to 48 percent of those surveyed overall.
Tom Bevan, the co-founder and president of RealClear Politics, said he also found Democrats’ responses troubling, writing on X:
47% of Dems say free speech should be legal ‘only under certain circumstances.
34% of Dems say Americans ‘have too much freedom’
75% of Dems say government has a responsibility to censor ‘hateful’ social media posts
Only 31% strongly agree with the statement, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’
The right to free speech has become a major area of concern for many Americans, especially on college campuses where speakers have been shouted down and surrounded by angry mobs. Some professors have accused universities of censoring unpopular opinions; meanwhile, others openly have called for censorship.