Voters reject FCC internet rules

American voters believe free market competition will protect Internet users more than government regulation and fear that regulation will be used to push a political agenda.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 21 per cent of Likely US Voters want the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate the Internet as it does radio and television. Fifty-four percent (54%) are opposed to such regulation, and 25 per cent are not sure.

The survey was conducted shortly after the FCC decided on a party line vote to impose so-called net neutrality’ regulations on the Internet world. Republicans and unaffiliated voters overwhelmingly oppose FCC regulation of the Internet, while Democrats are more evenly divided. Those who use the Internet most are most opposed to FCC regulations.

By a 52 per cent to 27 per cent margin, voters believe that more free market competition is better than more regulation for protecting Internet users. Republicans and unaffiliated voters overwhelmingly share this view, but a plurality of Democrats (46 per cent) think more regulation is the better approach.

Fifty-six percent of voters believe that the FCC would use its regulatory authority to promote a political agenda. Half that number (28 per cent) disagree and believe the commission would regulate in an unbiased manner. The partisan divide is the same on this question as the others. A plurality of Democrats sees an unbiased regulatory approach, while most Republicans and unaffiliated voters fear a political agenda.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters nationwide was conducted on December 23, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 per cent level of confidence.

As you would expect, there is a huge gap between the Political Class and Mainstream Voters on this topic. Most Mainstream voters see free market competition as the best way to protect Internet users, but most in the Political Class prefer more regulation. Seventy-eight percent in the Political Class believe the regulations would be handled in an unbiased manner, while 72 per cent of Mainstream voters believe they would be used to promote a political agenda.