Land Of Freedom? Most Americans Actually Support Consitutional Ban On Flag Burning
Amendment to Prohibit Flag Burning
The poll asked Americans two questions about a constitutional amendment that would make it illegal to burn or desecrate the American flag.
One half of the randomly selected respondents in the survey were asked this
Do you favor or oppose a constitutional amendment that would allow Congress and state governments to make it illegal to burn the American flag?
The other half of respondents were asked:
Some people feel that the
The results to the first question, which is more in line with the recent Senate proposal that would have granted Congress the power to decide whether flag burning is legal or illegal, finds a majority of Americans, 56%, supporting the constitutional amendment and 41% opposing such an amendment. While a majority, it does not rise to the level one would expect when discussing an amendment to the constitution, something that requires two-thirds support in both houses of Congress and ratification by three-fourths of the states' legislatures.
These results are essentially the same as what
The poll also asked how upset those who favor the amendment in the first question would be if it is not passed, and how upset those who oppose the amendment would be if it is passed.
The results suggest that opinions are more strongly held among those who favor the amendment than among those who oppose it. Forty percent of Americans both support the amendment and would be upset it if is not passed, suggesting they hold their views strongly and their opinion is essentially a mandate of what the government should do. On the opposite side of the spectrum, 20% say they oppose the amendment and also would be upset if it is passed. Roughly
The results to the second question, which stresses the amendment would completely outlaw burning or desecrating the American flag, finds lower levels of public support. Forty-five percent of Americans say the U.S. Constitution should be amended to prohibit burning or desecrating the flag, while a majority, 54%, says it should not be amended in this way. Support on this question may also be lower because it raises a specific reason to not support the amendment -- that is, the notion that it would outlaw a form of political dissent.
On both measures, Republicans are more likely than independents or Democrats to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to make flag burning illegal in this country.
Sixty-seven percent of Republicans (including independents who lean to the Republican party) support a constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to decide whether or not to outlaw flag burning. This compares with 49% of Democrats (including Democratic-leaning independents) who share this point of view.
Similarly, 51% of Republicans (including "leaners") support amending the U.S. Constitution to prohibit the burning or desecrating of the Americans flag. This percentage is lower among Democrats (including "leaners"), at 39%.
Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,000 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted June 23-25, 2006. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.
For results based on the 484 national adults in the Form A half-sample and 516 national adults in the Form B half-sample, the maximum margins of sampling error are ±5 percentage points.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.