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  • New Poll, New Result: Americans Support the First Amendment After All

    What a difference a question makes. A couple of weeks ago, we exposed the biased and misleading questions behind a widely-cited Washington Post poll, which supposedly found broad, bipartisan support for legislative limits on speech following the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Citizens United case. The Center for Competitive Politics, however, has now released a poll with dramatically different findings.

    Based on much more accurate and objective questions, the Center’s findings reiterate our call for caution on the part of lawmakers, who appear ready to rush through legislative measures that would curtail the First Amendment rights of free speech and free association.

    The greatest virtue of the Center’s poll is its correct representation of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United. The survey began by explaining to those polled that:

    The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that incorporated entities—businesses, unions, and nonprofit advocacy groups—have a First Amendment right to spend money from their general treasuries to fund independent advertisements urging people to vote for or against candidates for public office.

    This accurately represents the decision, which merely removed the ban on corporate independent political expenditures.

    Tellingly, when presented with an accurate description of the decision, respondents to the Center’s poll indicated the complete opposite of respondents to the Washington Post poll. For instance, 51.2% of respondents disagreed with the government’s position that it could ban Citizens United from airing ads promoting Hillary: The Movie, or that the government could prevent Citizens United from making the movie available on a pay-per-view basis.

    Moreover, 63% opposed the idea that “the government should have the power to limit how much some people speak about politics in order to enhance the voices of others.” And four hypothetical questions about “independent political expenditures by a teachers union, a trade association, an environmental nonprofit, and restaurants” found that a “plurality … supported the First Amendment right” of these organizations to make independent political expenditures.

    Such results call into question the Washington Post’s contention that “Americans of both parties overwhelmingly oppose” the Citizens United decision, and that a “strong reservoir of bipartisan support” exists for legislative curtailment of the decision. Indeed, the Center’s poll found that only 14.2% thought that McCain-Feingold had successfully reduced the influence of special interests on federal elections, with 44.2% rejecting the proposition. The Center’s data shows that Americans believe in their uninhibited rights to political free speech, and would reject any attempt to again restrict these freedoms.

    Andrew Odell currently is a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to New Poll, New Result: Americans Support the First Amendment After All

    1. Spiritof76, NH says:

      Washington Post (and New York Times, I might add) is positioning itself to be the new Pravda when the current socialist utopia reaches its climax. In tha utopia, integrity is a relative term defined by the government. Stalin will be proud of it.

    2. Pingback: Shopfloor » Blog Archive » New Poll: First Amendment Does Have Some Support

    3. SB Owner Springfield says:

      Following the implementation of health care reform, cap n trade, immigration reform, card check implementation, will come the fairness doctrine rising from the grave. It won't matter because if all these Obama agenda items are passed into law, we cease as a Republic of free individual citizens.

      The elite will control every aspect of our lives, everything communal, and dictated from a centralized authoritarian government. Welcome to Amerika.

      Wait, can I say this?

    4. Rick Katy, TX says:

      Good Spiritof76, integrity is whatever our esteemed pelosi says it is regardless of the consequences. Just read what she has said about our good buddy Charlie Rangel.(Sarcasm off).

    5. Dean, Lititz says:

      Dittos SB Owner Springfield Illinois from SB in Lititz,PA

    6. Dennis Social Circle says:

      You can only imagine how the dems and obama feel about the freedom of speech. If it was left up to them we would not be able to comment on this article, much less express our thoughts in public. All of them could care less about the Constitution. WE MUST VOTE IN 2010 AND 2012 TO PUT THESE PEOPLE IN THE STREET.

    7. Pingback: Gavel Grab » Monday Media Summary

    8. mjr,Auburndale,FL says:

      There just seems to be no end to the lengths Obama and his "crew" will go to obliterate the United States that we Seniors grew up in. One of my biggest complaints revolves around the dependent society (without any shame) that has developed in our welfare "state." I really resent the feel sorry for me society that has resulted when self respect went out the window and in the door came the "you have it but I want it and it's my right to have it" people. Regardless of how these people get it from us, welfare, theft, or other method, an arrogance has set into this group that makes them feel superior to the poor working slob who actually earned what they want and then take.

      Now we have an administration that only furthers that same concept and are very well paid to fleece us in any way they want to and can. To trash the best health car system in the world with it's only aim being to give it free to those few is only the same robbery concept that has been practiced by our building prison population who also decided that "it's my right to share what you earned."

      The biggest problem arises when the "rulers/robbers" run out of wealthy people to get it from. That's when socialism completely collapses.

    9. Pingback: SCOTUSblog » Monday round-up

    10. J.G. Weiner says:

      This was an outstanding idea – to repeat the the poll with the question posed more accurately stated. It makes me wonder how many polls from the past that were prepared and conducted by the Washington Post, and certainly other publications with similar agendas, might have been found to have a similar outcome if they'd been subjected to this kind of review and rework.

      I'm encouraged to see that something I've suspected for such a long time has been proved a reality. I wonder if the fact that you've 'busted' them might keep them any more honest in the future…Thanks for standing up for truth.

    11. Jason says:

      Washington Post (and New York Times, I might add) is positioning itself to be the new Pravda when the current socialist utopia reaches its climax. In tha utopia, integrity is a relative term defined by the government. Stalin will be proud of it.

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