February 26th, 2010
09:00 AM ET
4 years ago

CNN Poll: Majority says government a threat to citizens' rights

Fifty-six percent of Americans say the government poses an immediate threat to individual rights and freedoms.
Fifty-six percent of Americans say the government poses an immediate threat to individual rights and freedoms.

Washington (CNN) – A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government's become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.

The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans.

According to CNN poll numbers released Sunday, Americans overwhelmingly think that the U.S. government is broken - though the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what's broken can be fixed.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 12-15, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey.


Filed under: 2010 • CNN Polls • Popular Posts
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Tram

    We lost so many of our civil liberties and Constitutional rights under the Bush/Cheney fascist dictatorship. Now, so many are still at risk.

    February 26, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  2. Stanley

    Some more banner reporting:

    'The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans'

    So what you really mean is that everybody in the country understands that their freedoms are at risk, other than the left, who make up the minority as the country is more center right. To be honest, I am actually just as concerned that almost 4 in 10 liberals are concerned also...

    February 26, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  3. Fed Up

    Agreed.

    Many of the practices put in place by the Bush Administration ARE a threat to our rights and freedoms.

    The really sad thing is that the Obama Administration has done little, if anything, to correct the situation.

    Neither party is anything of which I would be proud to be a member at this time.

    February 26, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  4. Jackalope

    The right-wing fear machine, led by FOX 'news' has succeeded in doing its job: dividing Americans against ourselves by making us fear one another.

    February 26, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  5. Russ

    Of the fifty six percent, how many individuals, their children, grandchildren, or parents, are collecting Veteran Benefits, Social Security, SSI, Pell Grants, student loans, receive Medicare or Medicaid, work for companies that receive government money, receive subsidies, have money in the bank guaranteed by the FDIC, etc, etc.? My taxes have not increased and folks still have their guns. I haven't seen any rights or freedoms taken from anyone. Our government is adversely affected by the inability of our elected officials to make sound decisions based on real facts and the media personalities who disseminate misinformation keep things stirred up for their own monetary gain and ratings.

    February 26, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  6. Sherry

    It's not the government that is a threat to citizen's rights, but the influence of corporations and lobbyists. People don't have a say, MONEY does.

    February 26, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  7. Ohio_Matt

    Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. ~ Benjamin Franklin

    February 26, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  8. MrLittle

    And this is a surprise? just one example: The Patriot Act

    February 26, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  9. enigmaforever

    When a president, and the speakers of the house, and speaker of the senate all have said things such as they will go against the will of the people to get whatever bill they want into effect, because they have the power, that they know better than the people what is good for them, and that they don't want or need bipartisanship that could add fuel to the distrust. Calling people who disagree names associated with evil doesn't help their cause either. And saying the the "Constitution is flawed", or that they have been able to get a different interpretation of what the Constitution says scares hell out of me too. Vote the tyrants out in 2010 then in 2012, then establish term limits.

    February 26, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  10. Michigan

    What? I thought I was the only one who thought that. Maybe we should look at that Constitution thing again.

    February 26, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  11. Rick

    This is correct. what else can i add except that we the American people should change this fast!

    February 26, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  12. kogk

    "Love Your Country. Fear Your Goverment"

    February 26, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  13. Doctor Dan

    In Virginia I have seen houses kicked in and families destroyed, sometimes people even KILLED over literally TINY amounts of marijuana. Please help us America. Please help Virginia. I know SOMEBODY who can help us is reading this. They are punishing us with police, using them to enforce the least free state in our blessed Union. They use a "Commonwealth" tag to explain why we are never truly free. Please help our children before they take them away. Please.

    February 26, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  14. scott51

    This should be a shock to no one. The left wants more G'ovt contol over our lives (that's the 63% of liberals). One question for liberals.... Why can't you keep your greedy little fingers off other people's money. Use your own and develop a private system that gives you want you want...HANDOUTS!

    February 26, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  15. Brian

    It's good news that the Republicans and Independents are waking up... but I'm afraid a lot of Democrats have gone back to sleep now that Obama is president. I think if they had been reminded that the CIA was still part of government, that their percentage would be much higher... for that matter, had this poll been taken last year while Bush was still President, I bet it would have been higher than the Republicans.

    February 26, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  16. Cujo47

    And this from CNN. WOW, didn't know they were capable of telling the truth.

    February 26, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  17. WhiskeyTango0311

    Someone slap me, CNN has finally stopped catering to the far left and oogling over Obama? Nahhhh, couldn't be the ratings, could it?

    It hurts having less viewers than local public access shows, doesn't it?

    February 26, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  18. bill

    Pfff...typical Fox news propoganda....ummm..wait, this is CNN....

    February 26, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  19. David W Johnson

    Question: How do you eat an elephant?
    Answer: One bite at a time.

    That's exactly what the Government has been doing to our rights since the beginning of this country.

    February 26, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  20. Dick Sicario Las Vegas. NV

    Start fixing the problem by electing people to the house and senate that will listed to and do the will of WE THE PEOPLE.
    Then 24 months later elect a president who cares about AMERICA
    A really good start would be of course to impeach the moron we currently have to call POTUS. But no one currently in the house or senate has the balls to start that process.

    February 26, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  21. Ben

    I am sure there are members of the Democrat party that read this blog and I have a couple of questions for you. Does the Democrat Party still have the ideals and policies that you believed in when you joined the Democrat Party? How does it feel to be included with the Liberal/Progressive/Socialist elements of this society? If you feel comfortable with your answers after honestly answering the questions then by all means remain a Democrat. If not, you know the alternative.

    February 26, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  22. thx 1139

    With the party of 'ignore the people' in power, represented by Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, what can you expect? And the majority is absolutely right.

    February 26, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  23. dinah

    If the government needs to get bigger than it is now in order to rein in
    out-of-control corporations, I'm all for it. I'd rather be governed by big gov than by large and corrupt corporations as we are now, or more fearfully by the ever encroaching church sayers.

    February 26, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  24. Steve Hamilton

    I'm not so afraid of our government as I am of people who vote strictly along party lines or people who don't vote at all. We should all take responsibility for the folks WE elected into office. Quit jumping on every political bandwagon that comes along and start paying attention to the issues that affect us all. Contact your reps in congress and tell them what you think–don't just send form letters. The media shouldn't dictate the way we think.

    February 26, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  25. MBrannon

    Why do we switch from percentages to fractions (7/10) when giving the breakdown? Strange.

    February 26, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
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