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. Jilli

    This country is really starting to reek of paranoia.

    I was actually more concerned about my rights under the bush admin who viewed the constitution as just a gd piece of paper. And they proved it with their actions.

    February 26, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  2. John

    The government ultimately has one job – to PROTECT the natural rights of its citizens. How did we let it come to this? Too many years of apathy and complacency I guess. The question now is what will you do to reverse this trend and restore your rights?

    "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security" – Benjamin Franklin

    February 26, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  3. j

    Big Gov`t was expanded greatly during the Bush years along with spending and "tax cuts". The Repubs don`t seem to be able or willing to "practice what they preach"

    February 26, 2010 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  4. Bozwell

    Conclusion: At least 44% of Americans have their heads in the sand.

    February 26, 2010 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  5. Jeff

    Democrats side with big government. Hey CNN skip the poll and give me a call next time. I'll tell you this information for twenty bucks.

    February 26, 2010 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  6. WyEtte Burke

    The Staffs are the problem. they are organized to protect their jobs and thus they protect their leaders. Ask any clean town how they do it. They tickets everybody and the city cleans up. In Congress we can only penalize the leaders thru elections and their staffs just go from office to office. They have no alliegence to anything except a paycheck and thus those around their leaders protect their turf at all costs. How else could pay, benefits, bonuses,m and pensions be always on the rise.

    February 26, 2010 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  7. Jason

    Hey CNN,

    Why do you list specific percentages for democrats and independents, but say "nearly" for republicans? Don't give some specific percentages and some vague percentages. I have noticed this in a few different articles lately.

    Try giving the actual numbers in all instances from now on.

    February 26, 2010 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  8. Beef King

    Words are important. The writer/editor of this story used the phrase-
    'only 37 percent of Democrats... say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans.
    That is a huge percentage of DEMOCRATS!
    Our government is the problem.

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

    Many trends predictors and financial/economy historians have been of late predicting social unrest. When people wake up to their sorry situation things will happen; like people flying airplanes into buildings and many more serious situations. The “Happy” wall street crowd are building their safe havens as we read. Maybe they see the writing on the wall. Politicians better see it as well.

    February 26, 2010 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  10. Volt007

    Uh, Ya Think? Ya think Obama's Communism and corruption might be a threat to Rights? IMPEACH BARRY SOTORO !!!

    February 26, 2010 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  11. Time to Think

    These results really show the ignorance of the citizenry. Without a representative government, we wouldn't have any rights and the entire society would collapse. Go to China, where the gov't tells you what to do; go to Somalia were there's essentially no central gov't. We have a nasty habit of failing to think things through.

    On another tack, what kind of poll is this? How were the questions actually worded? There's so much potential for all sorts of radical media spin, for the sake of advertising dollars, that I begin to have little faith in polls of any kind, conducted by anyone.

    February 26, 2010 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  12. Mr. Pragmatic

    Big government got you down? Well, you can thank Ronald Reagan for that. He expanded the federal government more than any prez before him while running up the deficit more than every president before him combined.
    And this was the guy who claimed that government was evil and should be shrunken. What a hypocrite! Wait, isn't hypocracy part of the GOP platform?

    February 26, 2010 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  13. Sgt. USMC

    The government shouldn't have done anything to prevent a depression. I wonder what the polls would show then.

    February 26, 2010 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  14. Jerry in Ohio

    I guess the fear spewed at Faux news is working. Nice job Fox. Dividing the country? Mission Accomplished!

    February 26, 2010 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  15. Ziggy

    Why do people want to depend on the government to make choices for them? Take personal responsibility, make intelligent choices, plan for the future, and be a good parent (if applicable). The government should be augmenting our needs, not providing for our wants. The mentally ill, the phsycially handicapped, the elderly poor, and the short term welfare needy are examples of areas where the government and the private sector should step in and help. We have made it too easy to do nothing and be rewarded for it.

    February 26, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  16. SCOTO

    And the right believes that this huge monolithic all controlling Federal apparatus has been built up in the last 13 months?

    February 26, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  17. BobbyB

    It took a Chicago thug to awaken the sleeping giant that is the American citizen, but finally the giant is up and awake! The telling number here is the percentage of Demoncrats who welcome tyranny. As you can see though, they are FAR outnumbered by freedom lovers. The key now is are we just gonna talk about it, or are we gonna take the country back from the tyrannical few???

    February 26, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  18. JD in OK

    ......on we the people can fix it. But if we keep sending the same ol' players back and expecting different results, I doubt we will. In my state we have Inhofe and Coburn....c'mon!!!! These morons can't fix anything but their own pocketbooks.........

    February 26, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  19. Me

    You can't fool all the people all the time – unless they're Democrats.

    February 26, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  20. Ben Farleigh

    Right on and more so. When the federal government provides assistance to the individual, it takes control of the individual. Does the Constitution assign those responsibilities to the federal government? I think not. It is time to take all these federal "assistance" programs before the Supreme Court and make a determination if they are legit In accordance with the Constitution.

    February 26, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  21. Deb (Long Island)

    Baloney...they certainly did not poll me or people that I know. Where are these polls being conducted in the deep South?

    February 26, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  22. Kitchen Police

    I guess these lizard brains who answered the poll would happily do without police protection, the military to protect us against terrorism, trash pickup, road construction, sewage maintenance, public education, utilities, insurance, consumer safety, parks, etc.

    February 26, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  23. Dave

    Well just look at yesterdays Dog & Pony show and how it ended with a THREAT to Reps to either join the Dems in TAKING OVER 1/6 of the economy or else be steamrollered by the Dems using reconciliation which has never been used for legislation.

    February 26, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  24. Charlie in Maine

    My biggest fear is that the Republicans will take power again. Please electorate remember what they accomplished the last time you trusted them with power.

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

    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.

    .....FYI the Federal Government = Democrat Party

    February 26, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
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