State of the First Amendment, 1999: A survey of public attitudes

Wednesday, June 30, 1999

State of the First Amendment
1999 Survey

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  • A survey of public attitudes about First Amendment freedoms, sponsored by the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, shows the public celebrates those freedoms without being entirely comfortable with them — particularly regarding the news media.

    The findings are in an annual survey by the First Amendment Center of public attitudes toward freedom of speech, press and religion, and the rights of assembly and petition, said Kenneth A. Paulson, executive director of the First Amendment Center, a program of The Freedom Forum. It follows a 1997 study of the State of the First Amendment.

    The survey results are based on telephone interviews by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut with 1,001 adults, ages 18 or older, conducted Feb. 26 to March 24, 1999. Margin of error is plus or minus 3%.

    The implications of the survey will be explored in a panel program on Sept. 15 at the Pacific Coast Center, San Francisco.

    (News media: For interviews with Kenneth A. Paulson or Paul K. McMasters, call Gene Policinski, First Amendment Center, 615/342-0328 (office) or 615/579-5560 (cellular phone).)