February 26th, 2010
09:00 AM ET
5 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. steve

    Big deal. They finely figured out that bif gov. is a threat. They create a monstor and then have no way to control it., Well my question to all of these supposedly shocked people, How do you fix it?

    February 26, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  2. ran

    It is now time to start doing polls that include those other than land lines CNN or at least say so in your set up because for me and most people I know do not have a land line but use the Internet or cell phones.

    Also, why not inform what political association those being polled (IE how many Republicans vs Democrats) belong to.

    Because for me theses polls are starting to become meaningless if they do not at least try to be impartial.

    February 26, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  3. Brian

    Why is this a surprise to anyone? The Founding Fathers knew that the single biggest threat to the liberties they fought for was an oppressive government. Not a distant government imposed by a conquering enemy, but OUR OWN governemnt. That's why they wrote the Constitution the way they did, so that it would keep the federal government LIMITED. But thanks to the liberal left, activist courts, and apathetic conservatives, the Consititution has been bastardized and outright subverted. Its been done insidiously over the last 40 years since FDR, but now Obama isn't even trying to hide his Marxist ideology.

    February 26, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  4. mar246

    Our government has been under siege from special interest groups and lobbyists representing corporations for years. The people of this country have not had any representation long before the present administration. Government could be compared to "urban sprawl" under the Bush/Cheney administration as it grew in leaps and bounds, limiting more and more of the average American's freedoms. And providing and showing less and less concern for the average working person.
    I believe until the senate & congress can get their act together, and represent and work for the American people, they should not be able to receive any salary. Obviously they're not hurting enough. I think it's time to put a hold on any paychecks to any elected official who isn't working in the best interest of the average American worker. Jobs & health care should be paramount.

    February 26, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  5. Shante'

    What is shocking is that 44% don’t understand that it is a threat to our freedoms and how so few people understand that the constitution was meant to limit the government not limit the people. It is also sickening how so many people will trade their value as individuals for phantom government comforts. My rights should end where yours begin and so on, that is the bottom line and I would rather be poor and destitute than to conform to mediocrity & be a subject of the government.

    February 26, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  6. jon

    The Feds are obviously a threat to both our personal liberty and to our economic future. The Health Bill is a perfect example. Obama et al are totally ignoring the will of the great majority of Americans and trying to ram a bill thru that will greatly limit my personal choice over my body, my family'e health, and my finances. The same is true for the Cap and Trade Bill, the EPA regulating carbon, the Endangered species act which is ruining agriculture in California, etc, etc.

    Obama is a statist and a Euro-style socialist. The Dems have become the new fascists (who were socialists by the way).

    February 26, 2010 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  7. spk2moi

    ONLY 37% of Democrats agree? And those Democrats are all agreeing that the federal government is so large and powerful that it poses a threat to all our rights and freedoms????? That's huge. The Obama nation is crumbling from within. His bubble is no more impenetrable!

    February 26, 2010 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  8. cjl

    Ummm...hey CNN, just to clarify "The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans"

    37% is still pretty bad. I think this pretty much sums up the perspective of all hardworking americans, and it points out exactly what the Nancy Pelosi's of the US don't get. Our sentiment is 'do good, but do not EVER sacrifice the rights of one man to benefit the 'greater good', because that is always a ploy'.

    February 26, 2010 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  9. Jim Bertram

    I am not surprised that 37% percent of the Democrats are still STUPID! You cannot fix stupid. You can only elect more Scum like BO.

    God!..... what a sorry mess we are in.......

    February 26, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  10. chris

    only the failing CNN would find this a surprise.
    THE MOST TRUSTED NAME IN CABLE NEWS FOX has been reporting this for a LOOOOOOOONGGGGG time.

    February 26, 2010 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  11. gadawg007

    Actually, this shouldn't be a surprise at all. The whole reason that the Constitution contains a Bill of Rights is that the Founding Fathers of the Country saw government as a threat to people's rights. Accordingly, they passed a list of things that the government should not be allowed to do. This shouldn't be a shock at all.

    February 26, 2010 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  12. ReConUSMC

    Too Quote the far left .""" That 56 % "" doesn't know what they are talking about !
    Oh Yea ! Wait until NOV !

    February 26, 2010 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  13. jgoodson

    Hard to believe cnn just figured this out.

    February 26, 2010 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  14. BJ

    Not surprising.

    February 26, 2010 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  15. Juan M

    Of course they are a threat to the rights of citizens. Governments all over the world have consistently violated rights of the people they are supposed to "govern." Our Constitution was written with this in mind. The more power a government takes, the greater the chances that they will over step their boundaries.

    "When a people fear their government there is tyranny, when a government fears the people there is liberty"

    February 26, 2010 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  16. Boehner's a boner

    Thanks Fox and CNN.

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

    It is good that 56% of the country has their heads out of .... the sand.
    The "Bill of RIGHTS" was written SPECIFICALLY for times such as these. Though the LAW cannot STOP the depredations of a corrupt government, the Bill of RIGHTS alerts the People to the danger by the abuses of it BY the government. Just like warning lights on your dashboard ...... Roman General Sulla, "stop quoting the law, we have swords."

    February 26, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  18. relee

    hopey and changy...the Leviathan has begun......

    February 26, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  19. Stefano

    So are you happy about "the One" you were duped into voting for?

    February 26, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  20. Logix

    It's natural progression for a government to exceed it's limits.
    Every so often there needs to be a reset button..
    Guess it's time to press it!

    As for fixing the government as it is, you can't fix stupid!

    These politicians have no clue and are bought and sold by lobbiests.

    Term limits and no access from lobbiests needs to be the law.

    February 26, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  21. ProfBill

    Ben Franklin's fears concerning the inability of the masses to effectively "rule" (consistently elect competent legislators to run a country (think Greece and Rome)) are coming true.....the easy swayed masses (the so-called independents) are part of the death throes of the Republic.....

    February 26, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  22. Bevroper

    November can't come fast enough!

    February 26, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  23. sean

    Yeah republicans are crying about the power of government that was obtained under republican rule. How convenient. They are a threat, but remember who made them that way. The right and left are equally responsible for the power our government has.

    Term limits for all govt positions and expiration of the patriot act would be a good start to stopping the momentum.

    February 26, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  24. Mike A.

    Big surprise that people who support the Dems (i.e. rely on them for handouts) don't think the Federal Government infringes on people's rights.

    Though it should be a huge alarm bell to the Dems that 37% actually do think so.

    February 26, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  25. Moe

    I totally agree that the government has decided that it knows best, and WE, the people, are stupid. I say vote 99 percent of them out, and vote new people in...These people in Congress are egotistical, cocky, and demeaning.

    February 26, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
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