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Poll: Many Americans Would Not Allow Free Speech to Extremists

Poll: Many Americans Would Not Allow Free Speech to Extremists

By    |   Friday, 25 August 2017 01:19 PM

A majority of the general public believe that free speech should not be extended to extremist groups such as ISIS, according to an Economist/YouGov poll released Friday.

When asked if an ISIS supporter should be allowed to speak in a local community:

  • 54 percent said the supporter should not be allowed, 26 percent said the supporter should be allowed, and 20 percent were not sure.
  • Over 40 percent of the general public would support removing a book written by an ISIS supporter that was in a public library.
  • 44 percent would favor removing the book, 34 percent would oppose removing it, and 22 percent were not sure.
  • Over half of voters said ISIS supporters should be fired from teaching at colleges.
  • 56 percent said an ISIS supporter should be fired, 15 percent said the supporter should not be fired, and 29 percent were not sure.

Breaking the results down by party affiliation, Republicans are 14 points more likely than Democrats to want an ISIS supporter's book out of the library, and 13 points more likely to want the ISIS-supporting teacher fired. However, both Republicans and Democrats still would support removing the book and firing the teacher.

Voters in the poll also showed disdain for the free speech rights of neo-Nazis.

About allowing a neo-Nazi to speak in a community:

  • Would not: 47 percent.
  • Would: 33 percent.
  • Not sure: 20 percent.

About a neo-Nazi's book in the library:

  • Remove: 41 percent.
  • Not remove: 36 percent.
  • Not sure: 23 percent.

Results are more mixed when it comes to the Ku Klux Klan. When asked if a KKK member should be allowed to speak in a local community:

  • No: 45 percent.
  • Yes: 34 percent.
  • Not sure: 21 percent.

Regarding removing a book by a Ku Klux Klansman from a local library:

  • Would: 40 percent.
  • Would not: 28 percent.
  • Not sure: 22 percent.

As for firing a Klansman who was teaching at a college:

  • Would: 55 percent.
  • Would not: 16 percent.
  • Not sure: 30 percent. 

The poll found that both neo-Nazis and the KKK are very unpopular with the general public, with only 6 percent viewing the Klan favorably and 5 percent viewing neo-Nazis favorably. Those numbers are similar across race, political parties, and voters, according to the poll report.

The general public was split regarding whether joining the KKK or neo-Nazis should be illegal.

  • 35 percent said joining the KKK should be illegal, with 39 percent saying it should not be illegal, and 26 percent not sure.
  • 38 percent said joining the neo-Nazis should be illegal, with 37 percent saying it should not be illegal, and 25 percent not being sure.

The free-speech defenders American Civil Liberties Union's defense of white nationalists' free speech also came under fire. Forty-three percent in the poll disapprove, and 33 percent approve.

The poll questions were conducted from Aug. 20 to Aug. 22, according to the YouGov report.

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A majority of the general public believe that free speech should not be extended to extremist groups such as ISIS, according to an Economist/YouGov poll released Friday.
americans, not allow, free speech, extremist groups, poll
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2017-19-25
Friday, 25 August 2017 01:19 PM
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