Survey: Majority of Americans Afraid of Expressing Political Beliefs

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A majority of Americans say they are worried about facing social or professional consequences for their political views, a new survey from the Cato Institute found.

The survey, conducted by Cato in collaboration with YouGov, found 62 percent of Americans self-censor their political expression out of fear of offending others. Majorities across the political spectrum said they are worried about sharing their political opinions, including 52 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of independents, and 77 percent of Republicans.

Thirty-one percent of liberals, 30 percent of moderates, and 34 percent of conservatives said they are specifically worried about professional retribution for political speech. The only respondent group with a majority confident in sharing political opinions was the “strong liberal” group, 58 percent of whom said they were confident. Fifty-two percent of respondents who identified as “liberal” said the political climate prevents them from sharing some of their beliefs, while 64 percent of “moderate” respondents and 77 percent of “conservative” and “strongly conservative” respondents said the same.

Respondents with stronger ideological leanings expressed support for punishing business executives who engage in political speech, although the sentiment was higher for strong liberals than strong conservatives. Half of “strong liberals” and 36 percent of “strong conservatives” said they support punishing business executives who donate to the opposing party’s presidential candidate. – READ MORE

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