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Opinion Polls on Official English

"In every single survey that has been taken on whether English should be our official language, 90 to 97 percent of the people say, yes ... "
– Rep. Toby Roth (R-Wisc.)

Pollling results on this issue vary substantially, depending on how the question is asked. When few specifics are mentioned, Americans tend to support Official English by wide margins. When more details are provided, approval rates decline. For example:

"Do you think English should be made the official language of the United States?"

    YES NO
    86% 12%

    (Survey of 1,208 likely voters, Aug. 2-6, 1995 by Luntz Research Companies for U.S. English.)

"Do you think there should be a law making English the official language of the country?"

    YES NO
    65% 31%

    (Time/CNN poll of 1,000 adult Americans, Sept. 27-28, 1995.)

"In parts of this country where many people speak a language other than English, should state and local governments conduct business in that language, as well as in English, or should they only use English?"

    60%     36%

    (New York Times/CBS News poll of 1,618 adults, June 19-23, 1986.)

"Would you favor or oppose an amendment to the Constitution that requires federal, state, and local governments to conduct business in English and not use other languages, even in places where many people don't speak English?"

    47% 47%

    (New York Times/CBS News poll of 1,254 adults, May 11-14, 1987.)

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