To: Mr. Al Cardenas, Chairman of the American Conservative Union
From: John McLaughlin
Re: National Poll Results
Date: April 8, 2013
It is clear that the almost unanimous majority of Americans see Free Speech and Privacy as fundamental freedoms that are linked at the core. However, the majority appears suspicious of political leaders who would exact retribution or reprisals on those who finance their opposition on important issues. Currently they see Washington as more of a threat than a protector of their right to Free Speech and Privacy on the issues.
- 92% agree that “private American citizens should have the right to free speech to support any independent group that they want on an issue they want, for example groups that support or oppose gun control, support or oppose a woman’s right to choose, protecting the environment, promoting business development and growth, etc.” 68% strongly agreed. Only 6% disagreed.
- 89% approve and 62% strongly approve of “protecting the rights of privacy of American citizens to speak out on issues without fear of reprisal or retribution from anyone, including those in government, the media, their employers or opposing issue advocacy groups.” Only 7% disapproved.
- 86% agreed that “private American citizens have a right to privacy when they support any issue-advocacy groups.” 58% strongly agreed and only 9% disagreed.
- 86% of all voters agree that “American citizens have a right to privacy when they support independent issue groups.” 58% strongly agreed and only 11% disagreed.
- Four in five of all voters link the right to privacy at the ballot with the right to contribute money for political issues. 81% of all voters agreed and 53% strongly agreed that “secret and private ballot elections are the cornerstone of democracy. It is your right as a citizen to have your opinion heard on the issues without fear of reprisal or retribution. Similarly it should be your right to spend your money in support of any non-profit organization advocating on an issue of public concern or any cause without the same fear of reprisal or retribution.” Only 10% disagreed.
- Three in four voters want unlimited free speech on issues. 78% agreed that “American citizens should have the right to support any issue they want without government limits.” 50% strongly agreed and only 18% disagreed.
- Only one in eight voters, 12%, think that federal laws should be changed by Congress to make it more difficult “for non-profit donors to express their views on issues of public concern and to causes they care about to keep their right to privacy.” The plurality 45% said the laws are fine and should be left the way they are now. Another one in four voters, 27%, said they should actually be made easier for donors to express their views.
- Two thirds of all American voters see our individual freedoms threatened by Washington. 68% of all voters agreed that “our current individual freedoms are being threatened by more federal government regulations from Washington.” 45% strongly agreed and only 27% disagreed.
- Almost six in ten voters said that making their donations public would deter them from contributing to issue causes. 59% of all voters, said that “if they knew that any contribution you gave to any cause such as Planned Parenthood, the NRA, Greenpeace, the NAACP, etc., was publicly available for anyone to see at any time, would it deter you from contributing to such causes.” Only 33% said no.
- A strong majority, 55%, opposed and disapproved “a new law requiring that whenever a citizen financially supports an independent, non-profit group, their name will be publicly disclosed for anyone to see.” Only 37% approved.
- A majority of all voters, 53% agreed that “money equals free speech. To prohibit someone from spending their money in order to advocate an issue infringes upon their First Amendment right to do so.” Only 33% disagreed.
- Incredibly most voters see the Obama administration as wanting to limit free speech. The majority of voters agree 50% to 44% that “Barack Obama’s administration has shown a pattern of attempting to limit free speech and take away your personal rights.”
- The majority of voters think that the Obama administration is trying to discourage political opposition. 52% agreed that “by pushing for the disclosure of donors to non-profit groups that advocate on issues of public concern and causes, such as the environment, education, and the economy, the Obama administration is merely seeking to discourage support of positions that are not politically correct or that people may be uncomfortable having disclosed to the public at large.” Only 32% disagreed.
- The majority also saw limits on donations as a limit on one’s right to free speech. 51% agreed that “government limits on the amount a person can donate to an independent issue group limits their right to free speech.” 38% disagreed.
- The majority of voters, 51% to 32%, agreed vs. disagreed that “Since free speech is guaranteed to individuals and associations of individuals under the First Amendment, then granting corporations the same rights as unions as both are associations of individuals is only right.”
- The majority of voters agreed that corporations should have the same rights as unions. 56% agreed with the statement that “Before Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission, unions could spend their money advocating an issue or candidate freely, however corporations could not. The Supreme Court was right in their decision to grant the same legal rights and protections as quote – associations of individuals.” Only 24% disagreed.
Survey Summary: This survey of likely 2014 voters has found very strong support for protecting free speech and the right to privacy for those citizens who contribute to non-partisan issue organizations. Support for free speech and privacy are fundamental and overwhelming. Also free speech and the right to privacy for political support appear to be intrinsically woven together and that a threat to political privacy is also a threat to free speech.
Methodology: This national survey of 600 likely 2014 general election voters was conducted from April 2nd to April 4th, 2013. Interview selection was random within predetermined election units. 420 interviews were conducted via landline telephone by professional interviewers. To increase coverage, this landline sample was supplemented with 180 interviews of cell-phone only users reached via the internet. These samples were then combined and structured to correlate with actual voter turnout in a nationwide general election. This poll of 600 likely general election voters has an accuracy of +/- 4.0% at a 95% confidence interval.
Party Affiliation: Republican 31%, Democrat 38%.
Ideology: Liberal 26%, Moderate 35%, Conservative 35%.
Vote Behavior: Democrat 35%, Republican 32%, Ticket-Splitters 29%.
Race: Hispanic 10%, African American 11%, Asian 3%, White 74%.
Gender: Men 47%, Women 53%.
Age: 12% 18-29, 16% 30-40, 24% 41-55, 26% 56-65, 18% Over 65.
Area: 18% East, 25% Mid-West, 37% South, 21% West.
For more on this survey and the results please click here.
For more on the American Conservative Union please visit their website,www.conservative.org.