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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/09/art.capitol.gi.jpg caption="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. Sandra

    The government is not a threat to our 'rights' - The repub party of 'NO' is the threat to our people ! ! ! THEY are the 'goat' leading uninformed 'sheep' to slaughter ! ! !

    February 26, 2010 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  2. Mark S.

    More ambiguous and meaningless polls from CNN.

    February 26, 2010 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  3. Jane/Seattle

    That is why big govt dems what to take away our 2nd amendment right.

    February 26, 2010 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  4. Tim

    I hope all these republicans that feel this way know that Bush and the Patriot Act are responsible for this "big" government.

    February 26, 2010 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  5. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    People who are uninformed or watch Fox must have forgotten we no longer wiretap. You have to wonder which government agencies they want to eliminate. There's homeland security, FDA, FDIC, the post office, national parks, interstate highways and bridges, the military, national safety transportation board, and a host of consumer protection agencies.

    February 26, 2010 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  6. Oxo

    The main threat to ordinary, flesh and blood citizens, comes from the conflation of corporations and government. That's not a partisan issue.

    February 26, 2010 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  7. Dinah

    Why weren't Republicans worried when Bush started spying on the American people? I want to have a public option for health care. The insurance companies are gouging the poor and middle class (oops one in the same) and making billions at the same time. For what? I know, so the CEO's can get those big incentives. Insurance companies decide what procedures we can and can't have? They are the real death panels Sarah Palin spoke of.Tell me why the insurance companies decided to raise their rates now? It just proves we are controlled by them. Republicans get your priorities straight.

    February 26, 2010 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  8. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    This is like the poll yesterday, where people responded they were opposed to majority rules in the senate. Pollsters should have asked if people knew what reconciliation meant before they included them. All they hear is the GOP and Fox talking points 24-7.

    February 26, 2010 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  9. DanInKY

    ...but in reality, big corporations are the ones posing a threat to the rights of Americans. It just shows how uninformed the American public is. Your local chamber of commerce is a bigger threat to your rights than the federal government.

    February 26, 2010 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  10. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    The GOP, Fox and the health insurance industry have teamed up with a song by the 5th Dimension called, 'Scrap the plan, we want to start over.' Barasso thinks the answer to health reform is medical savings accounts and high deductibles. He makes $176,000 without his lobby money and should take a reality check to see if that would work if he made $40,000.

    February 26, 2010 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  11. Lori in St Pete

    IMO, the government is far less of a threat than it was two years ago. Also IMO, with the exception of rethuglicans, many of those who believe that the government is a threat harbored those feelings long before President Obama even thought about running for office.

    February 26, 2010 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  12. ratojo1

    I find it amazing, that the government's ability to wiretap didn't concern anybody, but if the gov, wants to help people get healthcare etc. this is anintrustion?

    February 26, 2010 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  13. Tamara, IL

    That is until there is a hurricane or dissaster, then they want to know why the government took so long to get to them.

    Please, CNN you can do better than this.

    February 26, 2010 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  14. Micah

    Beck is doing his job well. Just what we need: a bunch of gun-toting Republicans scared of government. Bush and Cheney were the ones taking away our rights. Obama has LOOSENED gun restrictions, unfortunately, and should be doing more to close torture camps, stop illegal spying, and get rid of the Patriot Act which allows this crap. But I do not fear the current administration. When a government official is killed by one of these nutjobs, MAYBE Fox will see what they are doing to this country. But, then, it will be the fault of the left, because they are never wrong and never sorry.

    February 26, 2010 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  15. Navybill

    Whoa here folks, Government threatening citizen's civil rights; what's the world coming to? Actually, the FEDS do threaten your rights and you should be angry and express that anger in a law-abiding and civil manner. In the vernacular of the day, toss 'em under a bus, meaning vote them outta office. Easy enough to do, but we don't have the opportunity often enough when these clowns act up. Citizens, if all you will do is complain without action you are whining; cite the problem, identify a solution and move forward smartly.

    Have a nice day out there folks!! Ü

    February 26, 2010 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  16. silence dogoode

    That's because we can read and understand how both parties have subverted the Constitution over the years....starting with FDR andstill continuing today...

    February 26, 2010 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  17. Alan

    Well what do you expect. Our founding fathers believed that our Rights were granted by God, but since we no longer believe in God who grants us our rights?

    Also, look back at our Continental Congress, as they decided whether or not to declare independence, the debates were fierce and the process was very slow.

    It is this ugly, slow process that makes our system the best. If you are really worried about our rights, then you just let one party start making fast, undebated decisions, and see what happens to your "rights".

    February 26, 2010 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  18. ratojo1

    the last 2 words should have been an intrustion?

    February 26, 2010 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  19. Big Jilm

    And just what rights lost would those be?

    February 26, 2010 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  20. Patriot

    I find it interesting that no one seemed concerned about big govt. when Bush was in the White House.

    Govt. spending soared under Bush, illegal wiretaps on US citizens were commonplace, the Patriot Act pretty much equated non-violent civil disobedience with terrorism, and the administration went after anyone who disagreed with it (see Valerie Plame, also, "You're either with us or against us," if you protest the Iraq war you are aiding terrorists, etc.).

    Where was all of the outrage then? Clearly this "anti-govt." sentiment is motivated by politics and partisanship. It's a strategy by the right-wing to regain power, and nothing more. What a bunch of shallow hypocrites!

    February 26, 2010 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  21. Darron R. Brown MD

    Unfortunately, you can't have it both ways. Fire protection, police protection, military might, public education, roads, bridges, etc., all are a result of our government working for us. We pay for these things with taxes. The delicate balance we deal with, protection of individual rights, is part of the complex document known as the U.S. Constitution. Thank goodness there are actual constitutional scholars in the current administration.

    February 26, 2010 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  22. Scott, Tucson

    We the people need to turn the tables on our so call representatives by voting them all out of office after one or two terms, maybe than they will listen to the concerns of their constituents instead of their own self interests.

    February 26, 2010 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  23. Ken in NC

    This poll says that 56% of people question think the government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. People, wake up. WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT. Our government is made up of people we voted to put in office. WE would be the ones to vote them out.

    The greatest threat to our rights and freedoms stem from FEAR. It is caused by those who wish to scare us into doing their will and it is caused by our lack of knowledge of how our government works and the lack of participation in it.

    Over come the FEAR with the gathering of knowledge and take a more active role in the government and those who attempt to use fear will find themselves standing alone, out in the cold trying to convince themselves that their tactics are working.

    February 26, 2010 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  24. Jan

    Why is that.

    Because they build schools, hospitals, roads and bridges.

    They only believe the mis-information since we have an African-Americn President.

    I they had the truth about what government does they will have a different view.

    February 26, 2010 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  25. How To Tell A Dem Is Lying-Lips Are Moving

    And the dumocraps/NObama just want to make government bigger.They have their brainless/ignorant sheep following them to the slaughter house and do not even realize the end is near.At least we will be rid of the brainless ignorant sheep(followers) after the slaughter.

    February 26, 2010 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
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