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Poll: Americans don't think the government is doing a good job protecting their rights

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A significant proportion of Americans do not think the U.S. government is doing a good job protecting many of their rights, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research nationwide poll carried out Aug. 12-16.

The poll found that only 43% think the government is doing a good job defending the right to vote, a dramatic decrease from 70% in 2015 and 2013 polls, and from 84% in 2011. The Associated Press reported that while 43% indicated the government is doing a good job defending the right to vote, 37% think Uncle Sam is doing a poor job.

Similarly, just 45% think the government is doing a good job protecting the all-important freedom of speech, while 32% indicated it's doing a poor job. The 45% figure marks a sharp decline from 59% in 2015, 66% in 2013, and 71% in 2011.

Much the same can be said of other critical American rights, including freedom of religion and freedom of the press, which have both seen significant declines compared to past polls.

While a slim majority of 51% in the recent poll think the government is doing a good job defending religious freedom, that has fallen from 55% in 2015, 67% in 2013, and 75% in 2011. Only 44% felt that way about freedom of the press in 2021, compared to 58% in 2015, 60% in 2013, and 63% in 2011. The recent poll found that 26% feel the government is doing a poor job on protecting press freedom, according to the AP.

On the government's performance protecting the right to keep and bear arms, sentiment has been on the downtrend. The 2021 poll found that only 35% think the government is doing a good job defending that right, a decline from 38% in 2015, 44% in 2013, and 57% in 2011. While 35% in 2021 think the government is doing a good job on the issue, 36% think it is doing a poor job. But back in 2011, 57% thought the government was doing a good job versus 27% who thought it was doing poor job on this issue.

"The nationwide poll was conducted August 12-16, 2021 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,729 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.2 percentage points," according to apnorc.org.

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