New Poll Shows Half of Americans Believe First Amendment ‘Goes Too Far’ and Free Speech Should be Censored

Half of Americans say they believe the First Amendment “goes too far” in allowing free speech and favor some form of censorship, a new poll suggests.

The survey, conducted in early September by Caravan Surveys on behalf of the Campaign for Free Speech, asked 1,004 adults in the United States about their views on “hate speech” and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the rights of free speech and religious freedom.

The first question asked respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “The First Amendment goes too far in allowing hate speech in modern America and should be updated to reflect the cultural norms of today.”

Twenty-two percent of respondents said they “strongly” agreed while 28 percent of respondents said they “somewhat” agreed with that statement. Eighteen percent “somewhat” disagreed, while 24 percent “strongly” disagreed. Seven percent of respondents said they did not know if they agreed or disagreed with the statement.

When asked if they think hate speech should be against the law, 48 percent said they think it should be against the law, while 31 percent said they think it should “be allowed.” Twenty-one percent of respondents answered with “did not know.”

Respondents who said they think hate speech should be against the law were asked what they think the appropriate consequence for hate speech should be. Fifty-four percent responded with “possible jail time” and 46 percent said “nothing more than a ticket or a fine.”

Sixty-one percent of respondents agreed that “there are places where free speech should be restricted” such as on social media and at universities, while 30 percent disagreed.

“These new polling results indicate free speech is under more threat than previously believed,” Campaign for Free Speech Executive Director Bob Lystad said in a statement.

“Our new initiative aims to combat this concerning trend by highlighting how restricted speech and a restricted press harms everyone, regardless of political affiliation. America can’t be a free country without open dialogue and a robust press.”

When it comes to social media, 49 percent of respondents said they think Facebook should “monitor and restrict” offensive speech and views, while 38 percent said Facebook should allow all speech.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith