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Pew Research Center: races strongly divided over freedom of speech


About three-in-four Americans (76%) have heard at least a little about the attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center, conducted January 22-25 among 1,003 adults. Of these, a majority (60%) says that it was okay for Charlie Hebdo to have published cartoons that depict the Prophet Muhammad, but nearly three-in-ten (28%) do not support the magazine’s decision to publish this material – saying it was not okay.

Non-Whites and Women Less Likely to Think It Was Okay to Publish; Republicans More Likely

Opinions about the appropriateness of publishing the cartoons vary considerably among demographic groups. One difference that stands out is between whites and non-whites.1

While seven-in-ten whites who have heard about the attack support Charlie Hebdo’s decision to publish the cartoons, this is true of just 37% of non-whites. Instead, about half (48%) of non-whites decry the cartoons – saying it was not okay to publish them.

Men are more likely than women to support the publishing of the cartoons, with two-thirds (67%) of men who heard about the attack saying it was okay to publish, compared with about half (52%) of women. Women, on the other hand, express more opposition to the cartoons (33%, versus 24% among men).

Politically, support for publishing the cartoons is far higher among Republicans and Republican leaners (70%) than among Democrats and Democratic leaners (55%). And among Democrats, the difference between whites and non-whites persists.