Nearly half of American Adults see the government today as a threat to individual rights rather than a protector of those rights.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 48% of Adults see the government today as a threat to rights. Thirty-seven percent (37%) hold the opposite view. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.
Most Republicans (74%) and unaffiliateds (51%) consider the government to be a threat to individual rights. Most Democrats (64%) regard the government as a protector of rights.
Additionally, most Americans (52%) say it is more important for the government to protect individual rights than to promote economic growth. Just 31% say promoting economic growth is more important. But again a sizable number (17%) of Adults aren't sure which is more important.
This nationwide survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on June 18-19, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Men strongly believe it is more important for the government to protect individual rights, while women are almost evenly divided on the question.
Fifty-five percent (55%) of whites feel the emphasis should be on protecting individual rights. African-Americans are closely divided over which is more important.
There is little partisan disagreement when it comes to individual rights versus economic growth.
Data released earlier this week shows that 62% believe politicians want the government to have more power and money. At the same time, 58% think most voters want less power and money for the government.
This gap helps explain why just 21% believe that government today has the consent of the governed.
The Declaration of Independence asserts that governments are instituted among men to protect certain inalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.