According to a just-released Rasmussen Report, only 21% of the respondents want the FCC to regulate the Internet.
That comes in the wake of the Federal Communications Commission's 3-2 decision Dec. 21 to expand and codify its network neutrality rules. That decision split the commission along party lines, with the Republicans strongly, even harshly, opposed.
"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," said Rasmussen of its national telephone survey.
In the poll, 54% opposed regulating the Internet along with other media, while 25% weren't sure.
Like the Republicans on the commission and the Republican legislators who have vowed to fight the rules, Republicans in the survey were overwhelmingly opposed, as were unaffiliated voters, while Democrats were more evenly divided. Those who use the 'net most were most opposed to FCC regulations.
According to the poll, 56% of the voters believed the FCC would use its Internet authority to promote a political agenda, with only 28% saying it would regulate it in an unbiased manner. A majority (55%) said they thought the FCC should regulate radio and TV.
Andrew Schwartzman, SVP and policy director for Media Access Project, which favors net neutrality regs, says that given the wording of the question--"Should the Federal Communications Commission regulate the Internet like it does radio and television?"--the answers were not surprising.
"Needless to say, no one has proposed to regulate the Internet 'like...radio and television,' he says. "Indeed, the FCC isn't regulating the Internet at all. The new rules regulate carriers' conduct, not the Internet, and in no event contemplate content regulation such as that used for radio and TV. Moreover, the Supreme Court has already ruled that such regulation would be unconstitutional. (In Reno v. ACLU, the Court threw out a law designed to impose broadcast-type regulation on "indecent" Internet content."
Rasmussen surveyed 1,000 likely voters Dec. 23. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 3%, with a 95% level of confidence.