Arguably one of the biggest aspects of then-businessman Donald Trump’s candidacy for the presidency was his open eschewing of the liberal orthodoxy known as political correctness, which Trump and his growing legion of supporters pushed back against forcefully.
Democrats and their liberal media allies have of course decried Trump’s blunt and straightforward talk that pays no mind to the left’s politically correct sensibilities. But a recent poll would suggest that a majority of the country is in line with Trump’s view that liberal political correctness is a problem our nation must deal with.
A Sept. 17, 2018 survey by Rasmussen revealed that within a group of 1000 U.S. likely voters, 61 percent believe political correctness is a problem in America today, 26 percent think it isn’t a problem and 12 percent are unsure either way.
Somewhat surprisingly, that number is actually down from the 71 percent who thought political correctness was a problem for the nation when Trump first began to address the issue shortly after he launched his campaign in 2015, suggesting that he has succeeded a little bit in making it less of problem over that time.
As for the president himself, 74 percent of Americans say he is less politically correct than his predecessors, with an astonishing 14 percent who actually think he is more politically correct and about 10 percent who rate him the same in that regard as past presidents.
Meanwhile, 62 percent accurately assessed that former President Barack Obama was more politically correct than his predecessors, with 19 percent suggesting he was less so and 17 percent who thought he was about the same as the others.
On the topic of political correctness itself, a minority of 37 believe it is useful for protecting certain groups that have historically been discriminated against, while a plurality of 47 percent of Americans believe it is a tool used to silence and oppress certain political and social opponents, with the remaining 17 percent of respondents undecided.
Looking deeper into the ideological breakdown of respondents on the question of whether political correctness is a problem, some 79 percent of conservatives and 59 percent of moderates agree, while only 39 percent of liberals joined that assessment.
Flipping that question around to ask whether political correctness is beneficial in protecting historically discriminated against groups, Rasmussen found that 65 percent of liberals agreed while only 39 percent of moderates and a mere 16 percent of conservatives shared that view.
Along party affiliation lines, 54 percent of Democrats believe political correctness is useful to protect those who’ve been discriminated against, while 66 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of independent voters believe it is a tool to silence opposition.
Among those who view political correctness as a tool to silence opposition, fully 83 percent of them see that as a big problem for the country, and even 42 percent of those who think political correctness is a useful thing to protect minorities suspect it is a problem as well.
One of the places where political correctness has really gained a strong foothold is in our nation’s academic institutions, whether that be primary and secondary schools or colleges and universities. Along those lines, a majority of Americans believe that school textbooks are more concerned with presenting information in a politically correct manner than they are with providing accurate facts.
Similarly, almost half of all Americans believe that college students actually have less freedom of speech these days than students used to enjoy, and only a small percentage of Americans actually believe that professors and school administrators actually encourage and promote a free exchange of ideas anymore.
However, an overwhelming majority of 85 percent of Americans believe that an individual’s right to free speech is more important than ensuring nobody is offended by that speech, which pretty much undercuts the entire premise of political correctness. Relatedly, a strong majority of respondents opposed the recent push to tear down statues of historical figures who were connected to slavery, as they view learning from the mistakes of the past as more important than erasing them from our collective history.
Sadly, only 28 percent of Americans believe we actually have “free speech” these days. But given the strength of the majority who are growing increasingly opposed to the use of political correctness to silence opposition voices, the number of Americans who believe we have actual freedom of speech will likely increase going forward.
Whether the left wants to admit it or not, political correctness is viewed more as a problematic tool to silence dissent than a useful thing to protect marginalized identity groups by a substantial majority of Americans. This is part of what Trump tapped into via his presidential campaign and why, despite the constant outcry from his detractors, he rarely loses support when he says politically incorrect things.
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