A new poll reveals most Americans think the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution should be revamped.
The Campaign for Free Speech sponsored the poll which found a slight majority of Americans–51 percent–think the First Amendment is outdated and 48 percent of those surveyed want “hate speech” to be illegal. A slight majority of Millenials–51 percent—support jail time and fines for “hate speech.” Asked about the media, 60 percent of those surveyed agree that the “government should be able to take action against newspapers and TV stations that publish content that is biased, inflammatory or false.”
The poll also found, when specifically asked what the First Amendment protects, 80 percent of respondents didn’t actually know.
Bob Lystad, the executive director of the Campaign for Free Speech, said these numbers are shocking.
Lystad said when respondents were asked about the First Amendment, most responded by saying they believe it allowed anyone to say their opinion no matter what and they are protected by law from any consequences of saying those thoughts or opinions.
“That actually isn’t true,” Lystad noted. The First Amendment prevents the government from punishing Americans for speaking freely with some exceptions.
“Free speech is under more threat than previously believed,” the Campaign for Free Speech noted about the poll’s finding as around 60 percent of Americans between the ages of 21 and 38 think the Constitution “goes too far in allowing hate speech in modern America” while 48 percent of members of Generation X and 47 percent of Baby Boomers think the Constitution goes too far to protect free speech.
The poll of 1,004 Americans was taken from Sept. 3 through Sept. 5 and released last week. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 5 percent.
Reach Ed Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org.