A recent survey of college students by the Knight Foundation shows …

  • 73% of students, 56% of adults say free speech is secure in U.S. today
  • Students more positive than adults about all five First Amendment freedoms
  • Students believe free speech rights stronger than in past; adults disagree

Gallup presents the Knight Survey findings in its report More College Students Than U.S. Adults Say Free Speech Is Secure.

Social media, student activism and school policies are testing the limits of First Amendment rights on campuses around the country. But a new study, sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in partnership with the Newseum Institute and Gallup, finds U.S. college students feeling more confident than the public as a whole about the security of these rights in the country today. Most notably, three-quarters of college students (73%) believe free speech rights are secure, compared with 56% of U.S. adults overall.

Young and Naive Overall

Knight Survey1

By Race

Knight Survey2

Note the white-black discrepancy on right to assemble peacefully: 70% to 39%.

By Political Party

Knight Survey3


Knight Survey4

Bottom Line “Whatever the reason, college students hold a more optimistic and idealistic view of First Amendment freedoms than U.S. adults do.”

This is despite wiretaps, restrictions on recording police, gag orders on corporations, and numerous deadly cases of police brutality.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock