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More Americans are self-censoring

Empower Wisconsin | Aug. 14, 2020 

MADISON —The Cancel Culture is bad enough. Now, a new Cato Institute poll shows a majority of Americans are censoring themselves. 

The national survey finds nearly two-thirds — 62 percent of respondents say the current divisive political climate prevents them from saying things they believe because others might find their opinions offensive. That’s up from 58 percent in 2017, according to Cato.

It appears the fears cross partisan lines, but self-censorship is much more prevalent on the right. More than half of Democrats (52 percent), 59 percent of Independents and 77 percent of Republicans say they hold back their political opinions. 

Surprise, surprise. Liberals are the only political group whose members feel they can fully express their opinions. Nearly 6 in 10 (58 percent) of staunch liberals like to let it all hang out, according to the poll. Moderates aren’t so vocal, with 64 percent stifling their speech, while 77 percent of conservatives self-censor. 

“This demonstrates that political expression is an issue that divides the Democratic coalition between centrist Democrats and their left flank,” Cato reports. 

The survey finds the Cancel Culture is attracting more adherents. Twenty-two percent of respondents would support firing a business executive who personally donates to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign. Even more, 31 percent support firing a business executive who donates to President Donald Trump’s re‐ election campaign.

The poll finds half of staunch liberals would call for sacking an executive who contributes to the Trump campaign. More than a third (36 percent) of strong conservatives feel the same about executives donating to Biden’s campaign. 

Perhaps more disturbing, 32 percent of poll respondents said they are worried about missing out on career opportunities or losing their job if their political opinions became known. 

“These results are particularly notable given that most personal campaign contributions to political candidates are public knowledge and can easily be found online,” Cato reports. 

Read more at Cato.org.

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