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By The Free Speech Center , published on February 28, 2024

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A new survey finds that 69 percent of Americans believe free speech is heading “in the wrong direction” when it comes to “whether people are able to freely express their views.”

The new National Speech Index, a partnership between the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression and the Polarization Research Lab at Dartmouth College, was conducted between Jan. 12 and 19.

To some extent, interpretation of the survey’s results depends upon perspective. Yes, just 25 percent of those surveyed said free speech is either “very secure” or “completely secure,” but another 47 percent said it was “somewhat secure,” leaving just 29 percent of Americans seeing speech as not secure.

About 31 percent of respondents, including what pollsters describe as “similar numbers of Republicans and Democrats,” think the First Amendment “goes too far.” This is consistent with other poll results in recent years.

In another finding, the survey indicates that 60 percent of Americans are not worried about losing their jobs because of a complaint about their comments at work. The remainder expressed concern ranging from being “slightly worried” to “very worried.” The First Amendment does not protect speech in the workplace.

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