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Eagleton poll finds New Jersey adults more focused on censorship than content in school books

A new poll by the Eagleton Institute of Politics found that New Jersey adults are more concerned with censorship of academic material in schools than inappropriate content in books, according to a press release. – Photo by Element5 Digital / Pexels

The Eagleton Institute of Politics recently conducted a poll revealing that New Jersey adults are more concerned with literary censorship than inappropriate material in books, according to a press release.

Fifty-eight percent of those polled indicated that book bans are a more pressing issue than content that is being taught in schools without parental approval, while 35 percent said the reverse. Eight percent of the sample said they were undecided.

Analyzing the results by demographics also yielded similar findings. Republicans were the only subset with a majority vote indicating that inappropriate content is more important, with a 67 percent pull, according to the release.

Groups that indicated especially strong concern toward book bans include Democrats and those who identify as lesbian, bisexual, gay and queer, with votes leaning 79 percent and 74 percent, respectively.

Additionally, a majority in all groups, except Republicans, voted that books are censored with political motives in mind. Forty-four percent of Republicans said they are politically motivated, while 43 percent said book bans are rooted purely in parental concerns.

The release notes that the study occurred before the introduction of Bill S-2421, known as the Freedom to Read Act in the New Jersey Legislature. Sen. Andrew Zwicker (D-16) and Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-29) sponsored the bill, which rejects limitations on books that can be made available at libraries and also protects library staff from harassment.

"These results are further proof following the 2023 legislative races that pro-book ban politics does not play well with a majority of New Jerseyans," Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling, said in the release.

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