The Freedom Forum Institute has released its annual “State of the First Amendment” (SOFA) survey, and the results paint a dismal portrait of the American electorate.
The survey of 1,009 American adults was conducted in May and June of 2018 by the Fors Marsh Group in partnership with Lata Nott and Gene Policinski of FFI. The survey has a margin of error of 3.7%.
When asked to name the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment, only one person was able to name all five. 2% of respondents were able to name the right to petition the government for redress of grievances; 12% were able to name the right of peaceful assembly; 13% were able to name freedom of the press; 15% were able to name freedom of religion; and 56% were able to name freedom of speech.
A whopping 40% of respondents couldn’t name a single freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.
If there’s a silver lining to such an alarming number, it’s that it hasn’t increased since the 2016 survey. The number has increased since the 2014 and 2015 surveys in which 29% and 33%, respectively, failed to identify a single First Amendment right.
Some additional rights were also named, such as the right to vote (2%) and the right to bear arms (9%).
The survey also tallied the number of freedoms each person could recall. As stated before, while 40% of respondents couldn’t name a single First Amendment right, 36% could name one, 12% could name two, 8% could name three, and 3% could name four.
Only one could name all five rights.
The results of the SOFA survey have fluctuated over the last 20 years. For example, the percentage of respondents who couldn’t name a single First Amendment right was at its lowest in 2005 when it stood at 29%, and it reached 40% in 2008.