For the first time, a majority of Americans feel that the government threatens their individual rights and freedoms, according to a survey released on Thursday.
Fifty-three percent of the 1,502 adults surveyed Jan. 9-13 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press
responded that they believe that the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms.
The Pew survey found that 43 percent disagreed.
The findings come as President Barack Obama begins his second term and differ from survey results from March 2010, when adults were divided on the issue. Forty-seven percent agreed that the government represented a threat to personal freedoms, while 50 percent disagreed, Pew found.
Men, the survey found, are more likely than women to believe their rights are under assault, while Republicans — 70 percent — are far more likely than Democrats — 38 percent — to say so.
But 76 percent of conservative Republicans said they feel threatened by Washington, compared with 62 percent three years ago, Pew found.
Even survey respondents who said they do not feel that the federal government is encroaching on their rights, many are frustrated with it.
Seventy-three percent told Pew that Washington does the right thing rarely or not at all, compared with 26 percent who do, Pew found.
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