Most Americans Believe Basic Human Rights Are Under Siege

(CN) – Nearly every American believes their basic rights and freedoms are under assault, according to polling data released Monday.

The Harris Poll/Purple Project shows that 92% of Americans say they are fearful that their human rights are under attack and in significant danger. Americans also believe there are a series of rights that are being specifically targeted and are in the most jeopardy, according to the poll.

Americans say the right to free speech is most threatened, with nearly half (48%) of Americans believing that right is under attack. A close second, however, say the right to bear arms, which 47% say is also under siege.

Americans also think that their right to equal justice is in danger. The polling shows that 41% of Americans believe their ability to secure a fair and speedy trial and be considered innocent until proven guilty is routinely under threat.

Rounding out the top five rights Americans say are most in jeopardy are the freedoms of expression and religion, which 37% and 35% say are being attacked, respectively.

John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll, suggests these numbers are a consequence of a continually enflamed political landscape. With political and lobbying entities often utilizing invective language to help garner support for their issues, Gerzema said it becomes more likely that Americans will begin to perceive the threats as presented and entrench themselves in ideologies.

“When you frame something as a threat, it creates a bit of a political response, and it creates division and encampments of special interest,” Gerzema said with the release of Monday’s poll.

The poll indicates that should many of these fears become realized and basic human rights are lost, many Americans would deeply miss them. A majority (63%) say that they would miss their rights to free speech should it ever be taken from them.

Almost half of Americans voice the same sentiment for the freedoms of expression and equal justice, with 46% and 45% saying they would also mourn the loss those rights, respectively.

Data show that despite political leanings, most Americans (55%) say they would like to see more substantial conversations on these issues to ensure that political divisiveness does not make things worse.

Gerzema said the importance of personal rights and freedoms for Americans should signal that finding common ground in our political landscape is more possible than many would assume.

Lawmakers and Washington power players should therefore focus more on these critical concerns that so many Americans share if they aim to bring the country closer together and help to heal some of the nation’s divisions, Gerzema said.

“There is something wonderful going on underneath the surface, and that’s what I wish our leaders in Washington would pay attention to. You start to see the true, softer side of America’s rough-and-tumble political reality,” Gerzema said in the statement.

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