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. Tom Ashbarry

    Strange that CNN the first of all the "established"media to release a poll, that has been broadcast for the past 13 months by Fox News, I wonder if the other Media (MSNBC/ABC/CBS/NY Times/Washington Post) are beginning to see the vast mistake made by the voters in 2008 election?????? More than likely this comment will NOT be posted

    February 26, 2010 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  2. Eva from Tampa

    The Republicans have done a masterful job in whipping up this "fear" mongering. What they are really saying is "we fear a black man in the oval office". What an amazing shame for this country.

    February 26, 2010 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  3. Mel

    It's not the government itself. The government has become an instrument for huge multi-national corporations that have gotten so big, so rich and politically powerful that they consider themselves to be global entities with no loyalty to any one nation. Through our cash-driven election system they get what they want using a government they run through lobbyists and lobbyists-turned-congressional staffers. Government's action (or inaction) is only a symptom of the real problem. Our Congress and state legislatures have been bought. Government takes the rap but the only way to get government working for us is to FIX THE MONEY. Focus like a laser beam on that and it will enable the fix for everything else.

    February 26, 2010 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  4. haren

    In yesterday's summit you can see that each and every Republican has orchestrated talking point of 'step by step' and 'start all over',
    It is obvious they came in summit with close mind not to support a black president.

    February 26, 2010 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  5. p. harris

    There have been some really bad administrations in the past. J. Carter comes to mind but nothing like this one. The press has much for which to answer for palming off this man, completely unqualified on our country. The real problem though too many uneducated people who voted for this bunch of thugs.........

    February 26, 2010 09:05 am at 9:05 am |

    What were the statistics from the years 2000-2008?
    Give us some more meat to your polls, not just assuming that we will take the bait and run with it. "Just the Facts, ma'am; Just the Facts" says Joe Friday.

    February 26, 2010 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  7. Vic of New York

    Goes to show you how good the Right Wing brainwashing message has gotten.

    Joe Mccarthy anyone?

    February 26, 2010 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  8. JMA

    63% of independents speaks volumes. Democrats are fine with big government as long as their party is in power, and Republicans didn't seem to care about Bush's massive expansion of government powers when it was in the name of "homeland security".

    February 26, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  9. Humanrights1st

    "One person's rights end where another person's begin"
    U.S. started violating our human rights when they decided that it is perfectly acceptable to forcibly take one person's money/property and redistribute it to others. It's been all downhill since. When the "Common Good" takes precedence over human rights, it opens the door to a whole host of abuses.

    February 26, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  10. proud mother and sister of a soldier

    Obama clearly expressed his opinion yesterday at the health care summit that the citizens of this country do not understand the complexities of these issues. Consequently, government must step into play. I was insulted bu his stammering as he looked for a word other than "dumb". The progressives would like nothing more than have big government.

    February 26, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  11. Scott

    It is not a surprise that the majority of Americans are now very concerned about our future and the size of government. The President and his party have decided to force through a government take over of Health Care. With that they now control some of the largest banks, AIG Insurnace, two of the three car companies all mortgages and it is growing. Control of health care will allow the government to decide all facets of what is "healthy" in our life, such as what we eat, drink, what we play as sports (e.g. hunting), and maybe even to much stress coming from not saying the "right" thing. Hopefully they won't force the American people out the back door of the White House because the Chineese Government says so.

    Listen America . . . it is time to take back our future for our children. Give them the same opportunities we had. Freedom does not guarentee a success, we have to work hard for it!

    February 26, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  12. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I wonder what questions were asked of people who were polled because just simply asking does the government pose a threat to rights and freedoms is a yes or no question. I'd like to know how, why and when these polled individuals have been directly threatened and not just some propaganda they heard.

    February 26, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  13. RefreshTheTree

    They are a threat, and it is naive to think they are not. In New Orleans guns were confiscated by heavily armed police and national guard, which is in direct and blatant violation of at least two amendments of the Constitution (2 and 4), and if you say, well it was an emergency then you are part of the problem. Can you say inalienable? Do you know what it means? Our new American nobility (congress and the cabinet) do not work for us, welcome to King George 2010. Ben Franklin said it best in two quotes:
    -"...once the people realize they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic"
    -"...those who would give up essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security."

    February 26, 2010 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  14. Tom

    When a government is willing to effectively say we have NO CHOICE and have to go buy a product or go to jail it should be more than obvious they are very much willing to trample on individual rights. When they decide the constitution doesn't apply it should be unquestionable. I am surprised the number isn't much higher. If the media were doing it's job it would be.

    February 26, 2010 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  15. more cnn spin

    only 37% of stupid libersl, 63% of independents, but wait almost 7 in 10 republicans think this!!! Am I the only one who reads this and knows that CNN is intentionally saying 7 in ten rather than reporting a % much like independents, because 65% is nearly 7 in 10. one again the communist news network has denuded itself of unbiased news. This is why Fox is killing them in the ratings and why nearly 7 in 10 Americans believe Fox news is the most trust worthy.
    Thank you cnn for reinforcing my dislike for your site.

    February 26, 2010 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  16. Paul H

    Government is getting to big. And the proposed legislation that's on the table will expand Government into our living rooms. Things like: Cap and Trade will put such a hold on industry, and current energy sources that cost would go up on practically everything in the market. Any tax break a person may get is only given right back to the system.
    The health care debate is more of the same. Government take over of a free market institution.
    It's got socialistic over tones even if they don't what to actually say "Socialism"

    February 26, 2010 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    Some of the things being done in the government, right this moment, border on the kinds of things you expect in a dictatorship.

    I think the government of this country is teetering on the brink. That is what happens, when corruption becomes rampant.

    February 26, 2010 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  18. Ferret out the BS

    They didn't tell us how many paranoid schizophrenics were intervied probably 7 out of 10 just looking at the numbers.

    February 26, 2010 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  19. Bob The Cleaner

    I'd like to know who the 30% of Republicans are who do NOT believe that government is a threat. I thought... oh, I don't know... that this was ... maybe... A CENTRAL TENET of Republican doctrine.

    These RINOS need to be purged from the party.

    Scariest words? "I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help..."

    February 26, 2010 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  20. Angry Vet

    This is proof that civics is not taught in public schools any more. Additionally, it is proof that the republicans don't think for themselves, for if you asked them one question, which right do you fear losing, they could not tell you one.

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

    Finally some others are starting to publish the truth instead of all the propaganda obama has been pushing!

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

    Wait so republicans are scared of government interference in the rights of Americans, yet they are perfectly fine legislating morality and preventing gay unions?

    February 26, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  23. Tom B

    Is it really the size or the actions of the government which are a problem? I am more concerned about the spying on Americans, torturing of people and other actions the government may take rather than simply the size of the government.

    I am curious as to whether Republicans felt this way during the BUsh Administration when the government was equally large. Or does this poll simply reflect partisan politics?

    February 26, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  24. Ben in Texas

    I don't know why any Democrat would say the government is not a threat to individual rights, after 8 years of Bush/Cheney. Remember how they broke the FISA law, imprisoned people without charges, and tortured prisoners? Surely you haven't forgotten that, Dems?

    It's also a violation of the rights of the middle class when Repugnants give tax breaks to their rich buddies, leaving the bill to working folks. And neo-cons are always threatening to take away rights from women and anyone who doesn't fit with their narrow version of "Christianity", which is mostly based on Old Testament eye-for-an-eye philosophy. In fact, the Party of No is all about restricting individual rights. That's why they should never be allowed back into power. Each time they are, they chisel away more individual liberty.

    February 26, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  25. Jason Locke

    Let's see CNN anchors put a liberal spin on these results! lol

    The people have spoken and it is unanimous, smaller government is the way to go.

    February 26, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
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