Most don't want the FCC to regulate the Internet

Only 21 percent of U.S. adults polled by Rasmussen Reports said they'd want the FCC to regulate the Internet, with 54 percent opposed to such action and 25 percent undecided.

A majority of American voters wants the FCC to keep its hands off the Internet.

At least, that was the finding of new survey results released this week by polling firm Rasmussen Reports.

Among the 1,000 "likely U.S. voters" questioned, only 21 percent said they'd be in favor of the Federal Communication Commission regulating the Internet. A majority 54 percent said they're opposed to government control of the Net, while 25 percent were left undecided.

Rasumussen conducted its survey on December 26, just a few days after the FCC unveiled new regulations that would impose Net neutrality on Internet providers and carriers. The regulations have stirred up a storm of controversy in Washington not only because some feel they're unnecessary, but also because many don't believe the FCC has the authority to enforce them.

In its survey, Rasmussen specifically asked respondents if the FCC should regulate the Internet like it does radio and television, whether regulation or free market competition would better protect Internet users, and if the FCC would use control of the Internet in an unbiased way or promote its own agenda.

By a margin of 52 percent to 27 percent, voters surveyed said they favor free market competition over regulation as a way to protect themselves on the Internet. The opinion was split across party lines with a majority of Republicans and independents echoing this view, but 46 percent of Democrats saying they feel regulation is a better approach.

On how the FCC would use control of the Net, 56 percent of those polled believe the agency would promote its own political agenda, while 28 percent feel it would be unbiased. Again, opinions differed by party. Republicans and independents see an agenda within the agency, while Democrats believe it would be more objective.

Overall though, the news of the FCC and Net neutrality seems to have escaped a lot of people. Only 20 percent of those polled said they've been following the story very closely, while another 35 percent said they've followed it somewhat closely.

It's important to note that the objectivity of Rasmussen's surveys have been questioned by some sources, according to the firm's entry in Wikipedia. Though many believe its polls are accurate and reliable, some have accused the firm of being biased toward Republican views and skewing the wording of certain questions.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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