Free expression and the freedom of speech are cornerstones of American democracy. Yet the interpretation of the First Amendment continues to be a flashpoint in the 21st century as the nation debates how to apply these rights to our society.
For the 2021 "Free Expression in America Post-2020" report, Knight Foundation commissioned Ipsos to conduct a survey with a nationally representative sample of more than 4,000 American adults, including an additional sample of 1,000 undergraduate college students. The Knight Foundation-Ipsos study provides a comprehensive look at American attitudes toward freedom of speech in a post-2020 environment, building on Knight Foundation's long-standing work studying free speech views among students since 2004.
The findings described in this report cover many but not all of the rich insights possible from this complex dataset. We invite the public and researchers to explore this publicly available resource in further detail. This study finds that all Americans hold to the ideal of free speech, but putting free expression into practice reveals significant differences in experiences and attitude. It examines how Americans view free expression issues, events and the application of our First Amendment rights in an increasingly digital, diverse, and politically driven society.