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    Law and Civil Rights (p. 3)

 See also: Supreme Court | Crime | Education | News media | Online privacy | Race/Ethnicity | War on Terrorism


 

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Civil Liberties, Tort Reform . . .

USA Today/Gallup Poll. June 23-25, 2006. Adults nationwide.

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"Do you favor or oppose a constitutional amendment that would allow Congress and state governments to make it illegal to burn the American flag?" N=484, MoE 5 (Form A)

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Favor Oppose Unsure    
% % %    
6/23-25/06 56 41 3    
6/24-26/05 55 42 3    
6/25-27/99 63 35 2    

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"Some people feel that the U.S. Constitution should be amended to make it illegal to burn or desecrate the American flag as a form of political dissent. Others say that the U.S. Constitution should not be amended to specifically prohibit flag burning or desecration. Do you think the U.S. Constitution should or should not be amended to prohibit burning or desecrating the American flag?" N=516, MoE 5 (Form B)

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Should
Be Amended
Should Not
Be Amended
Unsure    
% % %    
6/23-25/06 45 54 2    

 

FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. June 13-14, 2006. N=900 registered voters nationwide. MoE 3.

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"Do you think burning the American flag should be legal or illegal?"

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Legal Illegal Unsure    
% % %    
6/13-14/06 21 73 6    

 

NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Bill McInturff (R). June 9-12, 2006. N=1,002 adults nationwide. Results below are among registered voters.

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"I'm going to read you some positions that someone running for Congress could take. For each one, please tell me whether you would be more likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who takes this position, less likely to vote for this candidate, or would it not make a difference to you either way? . . ."

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More Likely Less Likely No Difference Unsure  
% % % %  
"Favors adding an amendment to the Constitution that bans flag burning"
    6/9-12/06 44 27 27 2  

 

CNN Poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation. June 8-11, 2006. N=1,031 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

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"Do you favor or oppose passing a constitutional amendment which would make it illegal to burn the American flag?"

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Favor Oppose Unsure    
% % %    
6/8-11/06 56 40 4    

 

CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. Jan. 7-9, 2005. N=1,008 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

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"Which of these statements do you think best describes the system that regulates the amount of money plaintiffs get when they win lawsuits: a state of crisis, a major problem, a minor problem, or not a problem at all?"

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Crisis

Major
Problem

Minor
Problem

Not a
Problem

Unsure

%

%

%

%

%

1/05

12 45 31 8 4

 

Time Poll conducted by Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas (SRBI) Public Affairs. Dec. 13-14, 2004. N=1,009 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

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"Finally, I'd like to ask you some questions about lawsuits for personal injuries, such as from auto accidents, or when doctors and hospitals are accused of mistakes in treatment. Some people say that the government should limit these lawsuits and payments because doctors, hospitals and manufacturers have to increase prices for everyone just to pay for the lawsuits and the awards. Others say that there should be no limit on personal injury lawsuits and the size of the settlements and that only the judges and juries should decide on the amount. Do you think the government should limit when people can sue for personal injury and the size of the settlement, or not?"

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Should
Limit

Should
Not Limit

Depends
(vol.)

Unsure

 

%

%

%

%

 

12/13-14/04

50 40 6 4  

 

FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. July 15-16, 2003. N=900 registered voters nationwide. MoE 3.

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"Once a woman is pregnant, do you believe the unborn baby or fetus should have all of the same rights as a newborn baby?"

Yes No Not
Sure
% % %
7/03 58 26 16

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"If a violent physical attack on a pregnant woman leads to the death of her unborn child, do you think prosecutors should be able to charge the attacker with murder for killing the fetus?"

Yes No Not
Sure
% % %
7/03 79 10 11

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"If a violent physical attack on a pregnant woman leads to the death of her unborn child, do you think prosecutors should treat the death of an eight-month-old fetus more harshly than, more leniently than, or the same as, the death of a three-month-old fetus?"

More
Harshly
More
Leniently
Same Not
Sure
% % % %
7/03 18 3 70 9

 

Los Angeles Times Poll. Dec. 12-15, 2002. N=1,305 adults nationwide. MoE 3 (for all adults).

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"The Department of Defense is developing a program which could compile information from sources such as phone calls, e-mails, web searches, financial records, purchases, school records, medical records and travel histories to provide a database of information about individuals in the United States. Supporters of the system say that it will provide a powerful tool for hunting terrorists. Opponents say it is an invasion of individual privacy by the government. Based on what you just heard, are you inclined to support this program, or inclined to oppose it, or haven't you heard enough about it to say?"

ALL Demo-
crats
Indepen-
dents
Repub-
licans

%

%

%

%

 

Inclined to support

31

18

30

50

 

Inclined to oppose

36

42

40

22

 

Haven't heard enough

28

34

26

25

 

Don't know

5

6

4

3


 

CBS News Poll. Feb. 24-26, 2002. N=861 adults nationwide. MoE 3 (total sample).
           

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"In order to reduce the threat of terrorism, would you be willing or not willing for the government to require everyone in the United States to carry a national electronic identification card, or 'smart card' that would have detailed information about each person?"
    ALL Repub-
licans
Demo-
crats
Indepen-
dents
 
    % % % %  
  Willing 50 47 55 48  
  Not willing 44 50 39 46  
  Don't know 6 3 6 6  

 

Gallup/CNN/USA Today Poll. Aug. 16-18, 1999. N=1,028 adults nationwide. MoE 3 (total sample).

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"Next, we have some questions about Buford Furrow, the man charged with an attack in Los Angeles which killed one postman and wounded several workers and children at a Jewish daycare facility.

"Which sentence do you think Furrow should get for this crime: the death penalty or life imprisonment with absolutely no possibility of parole?"
Form A (N=520, MoE 5)
%
Death penalty 55
Life imprisonment 41
Neither/Other (vol.) 1
No opinion 3

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"If Buford Furrow is found guilty of murder and attempted murder for this shooting, do you think he should receive greater punishment than others convicted of the same crimes would receive because his motive was based on racist and anti-Jewish beliefs, or he should receive the same punishment as anyone convicted of the same crimes would receive, without regard for his motive?" Form B (N=508, MoE 5)
%
Greater punishment 34
The same punishment 64
No opinion 2

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"As you may know, Buford Furrow was a long-time member of the Aryan Nations, a group which is reported to hold racist and anti-Jewish beliefs. If Furrow is found to have acted alone in the recent shooting, do you think the Aryan Nations group should face legal penalties for contributing to the beliefs which led to Furrow's actions, or do you think it should not face legal penalties, since it did not actively participate in or endorse Furrow's actions?"
%
Should face legal penalties 39
Should not 49
Depends (vol.) 5
No opinion 7

 

Newsweek Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates. Aug. 12-13, 1999. N=753 adults nationwide. MoE 4.

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"As you may know, hate crimes are crimes directed at people because of their race, religion, ethnic background, or sexual orientation. How effective do you think increasing the penalties for people who commit hate crimes would be in discouraging others from committing such crimes: very effective, somewhat effective, not too effective, or not at all effective?"
%
Very effective 36
Somewhat effective 34
Not too effective 13
Not at all effective 12
Don't know 5

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"In recent years, do you think hate groups have become a more serious threat, or is there just more attention being paid to these groups than before?"
%
More serious threat 42
More attention being paid 51
Don't know 7

 

Freedom Forum First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University "State of the First Amendment Survey" conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut. February 26-March 24, 1999. N=1,001 adults nationwide.

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"As you may know, the First Amendment is part of the U.S. Constitution. Can you name any of the specific rights that are guaranteed by the First Amendment?" Probe: "Are there any others you can name?"
1999 1997
% %
Freedom of speech 44 49
Freedom of religion 13 21
Freedom of the press 12 11
Right of assembly/association 8 10
Right to petition 2 2
Other 6 7
Don't know/Refused 49 37

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"The First Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution more than 200 years ago. This is what it says: 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.' Based on your own feelings about the First Amendment, please tell me whether you agree or disagree with the following statement: The First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees."
%
Agree -- Goes too far 28
Disagree 67
Don't know/Refused 5

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"Even though the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, government has placed some restrictions on it. Overall, do you think the press in America has too much freedom to do what it wants, too little freedom to do what it wants, or is the amount of freedom the press has about right?"
1999 1997
% %
Too much freedom 53 38
Too little freedom 7 9
About right 37 50
Don't know/Refused 2 3

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"Even though the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, government has placed some restrictions on it. Overall, do you think Americans have too much freedom to speak freely, too little freedom to speak freely, or is the amount of freedom people have to speak freely about right?"
1999 1997
% %
Too much freedom 12 10
Too little freedom 26 18
About right 59 68
Don't know/Refused 3 4

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"Even though the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, government has placed some restrictions on it. Overall, do you think Americans have too much religious freedom, too little religious freedom, or is the amount of religious freedom people have about right?"
1999 1997
% %
Too much freedom 8 6
Too little freedom 26 21
About right 63 71
Don't know/Refused 3 2

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"I am going to read you some ways people might exercise their First Amendment right of free speech. For each, tell me if you agree or disagree that someone should be allowed to do it. ... People should be allowed to burn or deface the American flag as a political statement."
1999 1997
% %
Agree 20 20
Disagree 80 78
Don't know/Refused 1 2

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"Some people feel that the U.S. Constitution should be amended to make it illegal to burn or desecrate the American flag as a form of political dissent. Others say that the U.S. Constitution should not be amended to specifically prohibit flag burning. Do you think the U.S. Constitution should or should not be amended to prohibit burning or desecrating the American flag?"
1999 1997
% %
Should 51 49
Should not 48 49
Don't know/Refused 1 2

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Asked of those who answered "Should" to previous question:
"If an amendment prohibiting flag burning were approved, it would be the first time any of the freedoms in the First Amendment has been amended in over 200 years. Knowing this, would you still support an amendment to prohibit flag burning?"

%
Yes 90
No 8
Don't know 2

 

The Gallup Poll. Feb. 19-21, 1999. N=1,014 adults nationwide.

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"Now, thinking about what have been called 'hate crimes' -- those crimes committed because the criminal hates the group of people to which the victim belongs. Some states have special laws that provide harsher penalties for crimes motivated by hate of certain groups than the penalties for the same crimes if they are not motivated by this kind of hate. Would you favor or oppose this type of hate crime law in your state?"
%
Favor 70
Oppose 25
No opinion 5

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"Do you personally know anyone you think is capable of committing a hate crime?"
%
Yes 13
No 86
No opinion 1

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"What about you personally? Are you worried about being the victim of a hate crime, or not?"
%
Yes, are worried 13
No, are not 86
No opinion 1

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"If a hate law were enacted in your state, which of the following groups do you think should be covered? How about [see below]?"
Should
Be
Should
Not Be
No
Opinion
% % %
Racial minorities 85 11 4
Religious and ethnic minorities 84 12 4
Women 83 13 4
Homosexuals 75 20 5

 

ABC News/Washington Post Poll. July 9-12, 1998. N=1,511 adults nationwide.

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"Do you think it should be legal or illegal to burn the American flag?"
If answered "Illegal": "Is it worth amending the U.S. Constitution to make flag burning illegal, or not worth it?"
%
Should be legal to burn 17
Should be illegal -- worth it to amend Constitution 50
Should be illegal -- not worth it to amend 26
Should be illegal -- not sure if worth it to amend 3
Not sure if should be legal to burn 4

 


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