The National Constitution Center released the results of its annual poll on public opinion about constitutional issues this week, and the results are quite interesting. Here is how the NCC described the results in a press release:
Americans oppose giving the federal government more power to improve the economy, and strongly oppose government intervention in private enterprise, according to a new poll on constitutional issues released today by the National Constitution Center and the Associated Press. The Center commissioned a similar poll in 2008, and intends to poll annually to see how responses change over time.In addition, 75 percent of poll respondents agreed with the statement that "The United States Constitution is an enduring document that remains relevant today" (up from 70 percent in 2008); while only 23 percent indicated agreement with the alternative view that "The United States Constitution is an outdated document that needs to be modernized." I also found it interesting that only 37 percent of respondents agreed with the statement "If a majority of people want something to happen, the rights of a few shouldn't stand in the way," while 57 percent preferred "The rights of everyone should be protected, even when that means saying no to something the majority of people want to happen." Further, 75 percent opposed the idea of "giving the President more power at the expense of the power of Congress and the courts" even if "it would help improve the economy."
The 2009 poll found that Americans strongly oppose allowing the government to take partial ownership of private enterprise, even if it would prevent them from going out of business (71%) or losing jobs (66%), or if the failure of the industry would seriously harm the economy (60%).
In addition, results were split as to whether health care was something the government should ensure for all Americans.
In other findings, the poll shows that Americans generally have a strong attachment to constitutional values and an overall commitment to the ideals laid out in the Preamble of the Constitution, including the separation of power, rule of law, and protection of individual rights. In particular, 61% of Americans believe the rule of law should be followed, even if it comes at the expense of public safety. This result is up from 54% in 2008.
This is just one poll, and there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of the results. Nonetheless, I found it to be quite interesting. The full poll toplines are available here.