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Heartland/Rasmussen Poll: Likely Voters Support Free Speech, Reject Socialism

December 4, 2019

The following is a national survey of likely voters published by The Heartland Institute, a national free-market think tank, and Rasmussen Reports, one of America’s leading polling firms.

The following is a national survey of likely voters published by The Heartland Institute, a national free-market think tank, and Rasmussen Reports, one of America’s leading polling firms.

The survey is published here publicly for the first time. It will also be published by Rasmussen Reports this week.

For questions about the survey or to book a Heartland policy expert to discuss the results of the survey, contact Heartland Editorial Director Justin Haskins at Jhaskins@heartland.org.

1) Should federal or state governments ban speech by individuals that a majority of Americans believes to be offensive, including speech considered to be racist or sexist?

  • 27% Yes (37% of young people said “Yes” to this Q. 42% of government employees said “Yes.” See crosstabs below.)
  • 50% No
  • 24% Not sure

2) Should those who violate such bans against offensive speech be punished with jail time? (Answered only by those who answered yes to #1 – 268 voters)

  • 48% Yes
  • 35% No
  • 17% Not sure

3) Should those who say or write things a majority of Americans believes to be offensive, including speech considered to be racist or sexist, be banned from holding public office, such as becoming a member of Congress or president of the United States?

  • 38% Yes
  • 44% No
  • 18% Not sure

(The following three questions were also included in our polling results released on November 25, 2019. See link here: https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/the-following-is-a-national-survey-of-likely-voters-published-by-the-heartland-institute-a-national-free-market-think-tank-and-rasmussen-reports-one-of-americas-leading-polling-firms)

4) Would you vote for a presidential candidate who identifies himself or herself as a socialist?

  • 26% Yes
  • 50% No
  • 24% Not sure

5) Do you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable impression of Bernie Sanders?

  • 18% Very favorable
  • 29% Somewhat favorable
  • 17% Somewhat unfavorable
  • 31% Very unfavorable
  •   5% Not sure

6) Do you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable impression of Elizabeth Warren?

  • 17% Very favorable
  • 25% Somewhat favorable
  • 15% Somewhat unfavorable
  • 34% Very unfavorable
  •   9% Not sure

IMPORTANT Crosstabs and Statistics Related to These Questions

  • Note that in the following results, those who answered “other” when asked for party affiliation are referred to as “independents” below. Respondents were given three options for party affiliation: “Republican,” “Democrat,” and “other.”

Free Speech and Supporters of Bernie Sanders

  • 51% of those who say they have a “very favorable” view of Bernie Sanders said federal or state governments should “ban speech by individuals that a majority of Americans believes to be offensive, including speech considered to be racist or sexist.” 36% of those who say they have a “somewhat favorable” view of Sanders say “offensive” speech should be banned.
     
  • Of those who said “offensive” speech should be banned by government (see question above), 58% of those with a “very favorable” view of Bernie Sanders said “those who violate such bans against offensive speech” should “be punished with jail time.” 45% with a “somewhat favorable” view of Sanders held the same opinion.
     
  • 61% of those who say they have a “very favorable” view of Bernie Sanders also said “those who say or write things a majority of Americans believes to be offensive, including speech considered to be racist or sexist” should “be banned from holding public office.” 55% of those who say they have a “somewhat favorable” view of Sanders held the same view.

Free Speech and Supporters of Elizabeth Warren

  • 49% of those who say they have a “very favorable” view of Elizabeth Warren said federal or state governments should “ban speech by individuals that a majority of Americans believes to be offensive, including speech considered to be racist or sexist.” 37% of those who say they have a “somewhat favorable” view of Warren say “offensive” speech should be banned.
     
  • Of those who said “offensive” speech should be banned by government (see question above), 56% of those with a “very favorable” view of Elizabeth Warren said “those who violate such bans against offensive speech” should “be punished with jail time.” 45% with a “somewhat favorable” view of Warren held the same opinion.
     
  • 67% of those who say they have a “very favorable” view of Elizabeth Warren also said “those who say or write things a majority of Americans believes to be offensive, including speech considered to be racist or sexist” should “be banned from holding public office.” 51% of those who say they have a “somewhat favorable” view of Warren held the same view.

How Other Demographics Answered These Questions

  • More than one in three (37%) of Democrats said federal or state governments should “ban speech by individuals that a majority of Americans believes to be offensive, including speech considered to be racist or sexist.”
     
  • Of those Democrats who said “offensive” speech should be banned by government (see question above), 46% said “those who violate such bans against offensive speech” should “be punished with jail time.”
     
  • 42% of respondents who said they are employed by the government also said federal or state governments should “ban speech by individuals that a majority of Americans believes to be offensive, including speech considered to be racist or sexist.”
     
  • Of those government workers who said “offensive” speech should be banned by government (see question above), 62% said “those who violate such bans against offensive speech” should “be punished with jail time.”
     
  • 54% of government workers said “those who say or write things a majority of Americans believes to be offensive, including speech considered to be racist or sexist” should “be banned from holding public office.”
  • 50% of respondents who said they would “vote for a presidential candidate who identifies himself or herself as a socialist” also said federal or state governments should “ban speech by individuals that a majority of Americans believes to be offensive, including speech considered to be racist or sexist.”
     
  • Of those respondents who said they would vote for a presidential candidate who self-identifies as a socialist and that federal or state governments should “ban speech” considered to be offensive (see question above), 68% said “those who violate such bans against offensive speech” should “be punished with jail time.”
     
  • Of those respondents who said they would vote for a presidential candidate who self-identifies as a socialist, 60% said “those who say or write things a majority of Americans believes to be offensive, including speech considered to be racist or sexist” should “be banned from holding public office.”

NOTE: Margin of Sampling Error, +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence, except question 2, which has a sampling error of +/- 6%.

See more results from the poll at the links below:

Heartland/Rasmussen Poll: Likely Voters Reject Socialism, Socialist Candidates, Repeal of Second Amendment

Heartland/Rasmussen Poll: Likely Voters' Views on Climate Change

Article Tags
Government & Politics
Author
Justin Haskins is the Editorial Director and a Research Fellow at The Heartland Institute.
jhaskins@heartland.org @JustinTHaskins
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