Survey reveals most Americans oppose book bans; partisan divisions revealed

At the begin­ning of September 2022, the EveryLibrary Institute com­mis­sioned Embold Research to do a nation­al sur­vey regard­ing book ban­ning.  Embold Research can be found online, and the con­tent of that sur­vey can be found on the EveryLibrary web­site includ­ing the ques­tions as posed in the sur­vey.  The sur­vey includ­ed 1,223 reg­is­tered vot­ers and has a mar­gin error of 3.4%.

Key find­ings were that 50% of those sur­veyed believe there is “absolute­ly no time when a book should be banned” and anoth­er 41% think there are “rare times when it’s appro­pri­ate to ban books.”

Thirty-one per­cent of Republicans think there is no time when a book should be banned, but that is far below the 66% of Democrats and 62% of Independents who feel the same.

Favorability rat­ings for teach­ers, pub­lic libraries, librar­i­ans, and school librar­i­ans far out­weighed favor­a­bil­i­ty rat­ings for gov­er­nors, the Democrat par­ty, the pres­i­dent, the past pres­i­dent and the Republican party.

Respondents were asked a series of ques­tions regard­ing their posi­tions on ban­ning cer­tain types of books.  Ninety-three per­cent opposed ban­ning clas­sic nov­els such as Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird.  Ninety-one per­cent opposed ban­ning children’s books (Walter the Farting Dog has been banned due to offense at the word “fart­ing”).  Seventy-two per­cent oppose ban­ning books on race and slav­ery (some peo­ple feel they are “divi­sive”).  Fifty-nine per­cent oppose ban­ning books whose theme is sex­u­al­i­ty such as Gender Queer (the most banned book in 2022).

In every cat­e­go­ry Republicans sup­port­ed far more bans than either Democrats or Independents.  Even so, most of the 31% of Republicans who believed there is “absolute­ly no time when a book should be banned” remained opposed to bans regard­less of which type of book was tested.

When asked if book ban­ning would influ­ence vot­ing, results were quite telling.  The ques­tion: “How impor­tant is pre­vent­ing book ban­ning to how you decide to vote?”  Results not­ed here include “Very Important” and “Somewhat important.”

All vot­ers – 75%
Democrats – 95%
Independents – 80%
Republicans – 53%
Non-col­lege women – 79%
College women – 83%
Non-col­lege men – 67%
College men – 70%
Go to library at least once per week – 85%
At least once per month – 82%
At least once per year – 79%
Every few years – 74%
Never – 48%

The extent of book ban­ning has reached out­landish pro­por­tions.  Last year con­ser­v­a­tives in Williamson County, Tennessee attempt­ed to get a book banned from ele­men­tary schools because it described and showed illus­tra­tions of sea­hors­es mating.

Public schools in a coun­ty just out­side Nashville were pushed to ban a tale about Johnny Appleseed because it was described as “dark.” Wow!  Imagine putting “dark” into a law or ordi­nance and then try­ing to con­vince a legal tri­bunal exact­ly what “dark” is.

Another attempt was made to ban a book about hur­ri­canes aimed at first grade stu­dents because “first grade is too young to hear about pos­si­ble dev­as­tat­ing effects of hur­ri­canes.”  Maybe we should just ban any dis­cus­sion about mete­o­rol­o­gy because rain caus­es floods, snow caus­es car wrecks and heat kills crops.

There were over 1,600 record­ed attempts in 2022 to ban books and pos­si­bly many more that nev­er were report­ed because they died aborn­ing.  And the attempts are esca­lat­ing, large­ly through efforts of groups like Moms for Liberty (an obvi­ous mis­nomer, if ever there was one).

The dili­gence of groups like EveryLibrary and the American Library Association is what stands between the igno­rant attempts to ban books. And the added dili­gence of local con­cerned cit­i­zens is need­ed to thwart the efforts of those who seem only to want to “dumb down” Americans.

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