Posted by Curt on 20 May, 2015 at 6:01 pm. 2 comments already!



YouGov conducted a nearly but not quite identical poll (more on that in a minute) on this topiclast October. I made a big deal about it at the time and have had liberal friends ever since telling me that it’s a fluke result, that most Democrats don’t really support banning hate speech, and that I’m generally being alarmist. Well, here’s YouGov’s sequel. I’m done entertaining doubts that this is a real problem.

Don’t start hissing at the left yet, though. I hate to say it but it ain’t their party that’s growing in support for making hate speech a crime.


The question YouGov asked last year was similar but not quite exactly the same. In October, they asked whether people would support a law criminalizing public comments that “advocate genocide or hatred” against a group based on race, sex, religion, ethnicity, or orientation. They dropped the genocide part in their new poll, which, you would think, would lead to less support for criminalizing hate speech. After all, you can imagine how someone might be leery of banning a concept as hazy as “hate” while feeling more comfortable banning advocacy of a more concrete course of action, like extermination. I wouldn’t ban either but I can understand why the latter would trouble people more than the former. Instead there’s more support for criminalizing hate speech now, with 41 percent in favor versus 37 percent opposed compared to a 36/38 split last October.

But as I say, it’s not Democrats who are driving it. Compare the partisan numbers above to the partisan numbers from October:


Democratic support for banning hate speech hasn’t increased at all; on the contrary, Dems are a bit more likely to oppose a ban than they were seven months ago, a rational reaction to the creepy spectacle of western media outlets self-censoring images of Mohammed cartoons after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. It’s Republicans and independents who are slowly warming to hate-speech bans. Indie opposition has dropped 12 points, with an increase of eight points in support. GOPers are now 12 points more likely to support hate-speech bans than they were last year.

There’s movement within other demographic groups too.

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