In the wake of the recent civil unrest in Charlottesville, VA, a new national survey from McLaughlin & Associates finds that 85 percent of Americans support free speech for all, even the unpopular. Just 8 percent said the US Constitution guarantees free speech “only for some of us,” and 7 percent were unsure.
Survey respondents from the Midwest were the most supportive, with 89 percent supporting free speech for everyone and just 5 percent for some. Southerners were next, choosing 85 percent and 9 percent for everyone and some, respectively. Next were survey participants from the West, who registered 84 percent and 10 percent, followed by those from the East, who tallied 83 percent and 8 percent.
Those who had a favorable view of President Donald Trump came down 92 percent in favor of all versus 6 percent for only some, and those who had an unfavorable view of him split 82 percent to 10 percent. When those surveyed were asked if freedom of speech is a fundamental right or should be restricted if it offends some people, responses were nearly identical, with 85 percent saying it is a fundamental right. Only 9 percent said it should be restricted if found to be offensive, and 6 percent were unsure. Voter feedback on a geographical basis was quite similar to the first question, as were the responses from those who favorably viewed Trump and those who saw him in a negative light.
Survey participants were also asked about their views on the Antifa movement. “Given that ANTIFA advocates violence as the appropriate response to free speech they disagree with, do you support or oppose ANTIFA,” they were asked. A clear majority, 63 percent, said they oppose the movement, with 53 percent saying they strongly oppose it. Conversely, 21 percent said they do support it, with 10 percent indicating their support was strong. Another 16 percent said they did not know.