Is it OK for people to express their ideas on the internet, even if they are extreme? A majority of Americans think so and there is support for this notion across the political spectrum, but agreement does vary by political orientation.
- Respondents who are very conservative (13.6%) were most likely to strongly disagree that it is OK for people to express their ideas on the internet, even if they are extreme.
- Strong disagreement was also reported by 8.3% of those who consider themselves in the middle-of-the-road politically, 7% of those who say they are very liberal, 6.4% of the somewhat conservative, and 2.6 % of those who are somewhat liberal.
- Simple disagreement (as opposed to strong disagreement) was expressed by 21.6% of the middle-of-the-roaders, 20% of the somewhat conservative, 18.9% of those in the middle-of-the-road, 16.3% of the very conservative, and 10% of the very liberal.
On the whole, liberals were more likely to agree with the statement that it is fine for folks to express their thoughts online, even those opinions that are extreme in nature.
- Thirty-eight percent of the very liberal strongly agreed with this idea. Also strongly agreeing were 25% of the very conservative, 24.1% of the somewhat liberal, 23% of the somewhat conservative, and 21% of people in the middle-of-the-road.
- Simple agreement was reported by 39.9% of those who are somewhat liberal, 36.6% of the somewhat conservative, 30.5% of the very liberal, 29.6% of those in the middle-of-the-road, and 27.2% of the very conservative.
So overall, even though a majority of people of all political orientations are comfortable with the expression of extreme ideas online, those most likely to disagree were conservatives and those in the middle-of-the-road. Support was most likely to be voiced by liberals.
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December 12, 2017