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. Gil Oberdas

    When we allow our country to wage unjust wars that are a threat to civilians and we can only come up with, "We're Sorry!" almost daily, then our government has become a threat!

    February 26, 2010 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  2. Tom in Va

    Well of course..

    And it's no one's fault but our own! We elect leaders that want to tell you who can marry or not marry. They decide for you if an abortion is right for YOU or not.....

    We elect leaders that want to regulate your most PERSONAL and PRIVATE lives. We get what we deserve.

    February 26, 2010 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  3. David from Raleigh, NC

    Americans should be concerned with Obama's agenda to take America down the path towards Socialism and Marxism.

    February 26, 2010 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  4. Clinton Cooper

    funny I remember hearing from the democrats all the time when Bush was President about how he was takling their rights. yet in this poll it is the Dems who no longer feel that way. Yet Obama is still employign almost all the policies that Bush used like wireless phone taps and such. I guess we see that for all their yelling was solely based on partisan attitudes.

    truth is any government whether Republican or Democrat is taking our rights and they must ALL be stopped. Democrats please wake up to this.......

    February 26, 2010 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  5. Joe

    Ya dont say?!!!

    Every time there is more legislation and regulation,for each new government agency and policy we give up a little.

    February 26, 2010 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  6. Mikeyh0

    Yeah, rights are being compromised but the real issue is the economy. If everyone is broke paying for government programs that don't work – I would really like to know where all that money goes – then freedom is wiped out. Folks are still working at a greater percentage than Europe or other places but what good does it do when the government seizes that wealth in the name of compassionate laws/ programs? If I lose my house, can I be free? If I cannot afford food, am I free? If I sell my truck, am I free? If I must depend on the government, am I free?

    February 26, 2010 08:42 am at 8:42 am |

    wow, a CNN poll? 63% independents? Pretty hard to spin these results as angry, fringe, tea-partying white men clinging to guns and God. Gonna have to try another angle.

    February 26, 2010 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  8. th

    All you people who are against taxes if there weren't taxes you wouldn't have roads to drive on, or services to use when you need help. Everyone uses roads, bridges etc. So when you are complaining about something not being fixed look to yourself you and your Repub. friends are to blame.

    February 26, 2010 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  9. UncleSam

    Just report the news, and attempt to be unbiased (without obvious agenda's).

    Large News Organizations just don't get it.
    This isn't Oprah~

    February 26, 2010 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  10. Rep Rangel to be admonished

    TAKING CORPORATION MONEY & FREE TRIPS- We can not trust those despicable lying evil GOP corporation loving scandels OOPS he is a democrat-FORGET WHAT I SAID we know dems are honest.

    February 26, 2010 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  11. joel palmer

    Again a poll clearing demonstrating the gross stupidity and ignorance of a majoitry of those polled. The educational system of this country is a massive failure if this is what our citizreny believes and "knows".

    All conservatives are not stupid; all stupid people are conservative

    February 26, 2010 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  12. Jan

    It boggles the mind that the stats are that good for government. Our forefather's main concern was that the Federal government would get too big and become our master. Well, that is exactly what we see happening and has been for 100 years. Slow but sure, and now they are so bold, the Obama admn. is going to just do what they want without our consent. Obama, the dictator.

    February 26, 2010 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  13. Pamela Powell

    I cannot understanding how people are working so hard against having some type of health care reform. The republicans should be ashamed of themselves. When they had the chance to get it started they did nothing. All they do is talk. What I saw yesterday was just some of the same old things that was happening by the same class of white men who can't seem to relate to the plot of America. It no wonder our country is in the shape that it is in.

    February 26, 2010 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  14. MeA

    This isn't shocking. With the Federal gov't slowly siphoning power away from the individual, it becomes more controlling and intrusive to our everyday lives.
    Solution: VOTE VOTE VOTE for candidates who will SHRINK the government and its power.

    February 26, 2010 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  15. MIchael

    Of course its broken, wake up those of you who said its not a threat. We need to vote out 95% of incumbents!!

    February 26, 2010 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  16. Phil in NY

    Who cares about rights. Give me more handouts!!

    February 26, 2010 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  17. lukuj

    It is too bad that our president and Congress don't really care what the people think and seem to actually desire to limit citizens' rights unless, of course, they belong to a politically correct group or a group that contributes heavily to their coffers (like trial lawyers). People have started to see what Obama and his ilk want and it is reflected in this poll. You don't take over a chunk of the economy like health care without liminiting freedoms.

    February 26, 2010 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  18. p.h.balanced

    What do you mean ONLY 37 % of Dems think the federal government poses a threat to their rights? That's over 1/3 of the Democrats! Obama's own people don't trust him! Add that to the nearly 2/3 of independents and 3/4 of Republicans and these numbers are devastating. Even during the hippie era of the 1960's there wasn't this rampant distrust of government.

    February 26, 2010 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  19. Pilgrim

    What do you expect with this kind of leadership, we fought against this 230 years ago. It's time to fight back!

    February 26, 2010 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  20. Kate

    The federal gov. has already taken a civil "right" away, access to healtcare. Our government only works for some, the wealthy and the powerful. This is my greatest fear about government, it only favors the rich and those in government. Healthcare for instance, our President is trying to find a way to make it possible to have healthcare for Americans and some of the congress sits there, and mainly republicans, fight against a public option, but they themselves have the best health care and insurance which is paid for by the taxpayers who sent them to Congress to represent us. As I watched the health summit and watched and listened to John Boehner and John McCain who are against the average American bring up the same ole talking points and lies instead of reaching out and working with what both sides already have in common. OUR GREATEST THREAT TO US LIES WITHIN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY,and I am an EX republican!!

    February 26, 2010 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  21. Anonymous

    Did you know that Arthur W. Degener was indicted for embezzeling $98,000.00 from Virginia Tech and then had a nervous breakdown?

    February 26, 2010 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  22. Mike

    We the people started losing our rights after George Bush & Dick Cheney took office. If that trend continues under Obama, shame on them. Both parties are guilty of ignoring the will of the people in favor of their own stubborn ideology. I find both parties to blame for our current mess.

    February 26, 2010 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  23. Jack

    Government has always been the biggest threat to freedoms! Just read your history, it has always been government that has oppressed people around the world and in the USA. That is why we were set up to be a REPUBLIC "to be ruled by law" the Constitution. If you haven't read the Constitution lately please do, you will notice that most in our Gov do not uphold it!!

    GET OUR OF OUR LIVES Washington!!!!!


    February 26, 2010 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  24. WeThePeople

    It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.."
    –Samuel Adams

    Remain vigilant people. The tireless minority want a hand-out, and will continue to demand that the government provide a nanny state, and cradle to grave benefits.

    February 26, 2010 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  25. xJonx

    To fix it, shift the power of the purse to the States. Do this by disallowing the Federal Government from taxing the individual. Instead have the Federal Government tax the States per representative in Congress (House and Senate). This will have a couple consequences. First, it will establish a DIRECT relationship between representation and taxation. Second, it will cause the money to flow UP from the States instead of DOWN from the Federal Government. In other words, the States will no longer need Federal funding for ANY programs. They will get whatever money they need directly from the people. And since We the People have a greater say in our State governments over our Federal Government, We the People will have a greater say in how OUR MONEY is spent.

    February 26, 2010 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
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