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42% of Gov’t Employees Say Gov’t Should Ban Offensive Speech; 62% of Those Want Violators Jailed

By Craig Bannister | December 3, 2019 | 3:54pm EST
(Getty Images/Robbie Jack/Contributor)

While only 27% of all U.S. likely voters think government should ban offensive speech, 42% of government employees support a government ban, a new Rasmussen survey finds.

“Should federal or state governments ban speech by individuals that a majority of Americans believes to be offensive, including speech considered to be racist or sexist?”

  • Yes: 27%
  • No: 50%
  • Not Sure: 12%

Only 18% of retired voters want the government to ban speech, compared to 26% of entrepreneurs, 25% of private-sector workers, and 31% of “Other” employment status.

Of the 27% of all voters who say the government should ban speech, nearly half say violators should be jailed for their speech.

“Should those who violate such bans against offensive speech be punished with jail time?”

(Only those respondents who support government speech bans)

  • Jail: 48%
  • Don’t Jail: 35%
  • Not Sure: 17%

Government employees were the most likely to support jailing speech offenders, with 62% of those who want government speech bans also supporting incarceration of violators.

“Should those who violate such bans against offensive speech be punished with jail time?” (Only those respondents who support government speech bans)

  • Gov’t Employee: 62%
  • Entrepreneur: 49%
  • Private Co.: 43%
  • Retired: 29%
  • Other: 59%

Government employees were also the most likely to want people “who write or say things a majority of Americans believes to be offensive” to “be banned from holding public office.”

More than half (54%) of government workers say speech offenders should be banned from holding office, compared to about a third of entrepreneurs (37%), private-sector workers (34%), retired (34%) and “Other” (39%).

“Should those who say or write things a majority of Americans believes to be offensive, including speech considered to be racist or sexist, be banned from holding public office?”

 All U.S. Likely Voters:

  • Ban from office: 38%
  • Don’t ban: 44%
  • Not sure: 18%


The national survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted November 13-14, 2019 and has a Margin of Sampling Error of +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence, except for the question about jailing offenders, which has a sampling error of +/- 6%.

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