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Polls

1,000 Americans were surveyed about democratic values. While there is a large majority support for American democratic principles, the support declines in a partisan fashion when put in current context.

Findings

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On individual questions about the democratic creed, there is large majority support for American democratic principles; the support for these principles is strongest among those with higher levels of education. 
• 62 percent of American adults agree that people in the minority should be free to try to win majority support for their opinions; 29 percent are uncertain and 10 percent disagree. 

• 75 percent of American adults agree that public officials should be chosen by majority vote; 16 percent are uncertain and 10 percent disagree.  

• 78 percent of American adults believe in free speech for all, no matter what their views might be; 13 percent are uncertain and 8 percent disagree.

• 89 percent of American adults agree that no matter what a person’s political views are, they are entitled to the same legal protections as anyone else.  

• 82 percent of American adults agree that people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions without fear of punishment; 12 percent are uncertain, and 6 percent disagree.  

• 75 percent agree that the media should be able to report the news without government censorship.

• We find wide bipartisan support for all of these questions, noting two exceptions. First, 73 percent of Democrats agree that people in the minority should be free to try to win majority support for their opinions, compared to 63 percent of Republicans. A similar difference is seen on the assertion that public officials should be chose by majority vote: 82 percent of Democrats agree, compared to 71 percent of Republicans.  

• The biggest demographic differences are found by level of education. Those with at least a college degree are consistently more likely to support all aspects of the democratic creed. For example, there is a 19-point difference between those with post-graduate education (90 percent) and those with a high school degree or less (71 percent) who support the statement that “I believe in free speech for all, no matter what their views might be.”