Few Americans Know First Amendment, Poll Shows

A survey released in March revealed that Americans are woefully unaware of exactly what rights are protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

The poll by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum showed that more Americans could name the main characters in the long-running television animation, “The Simpsons,” than could describe the five rights protected by the First Amend­ment.

According to a museum press release, 22 percent of those surveyed could name all five of members of the cartoon family, but ­only one of the 1,000 people surveyed was able to name all five freedoms protected by the First Amendment. Twenty-four percent knew that freedom of religion is guaranteed there.

The McCormick study also revealed that many Americans misidentified rights emanating from the First Amendment. For example, about one in five respondents said the right to own a pet was protected there.

Dave Anderson, executive director of the Freedom Museum, said, “These survey results clearly demonstrate that many Americans don’t have an understanding of the freedoms they regularly enjoy.”