66 Percent of Americans Say People Should Be Allowed to Play Violent Video Games


The latest Reason-Rupe poll finds that most Americans do not think the government should prohibit people from playing violent video games. While surely Americans believe different standards should apply to children than adults, 66 percent of Americans think government should allow people to play violent video games, while 31 percent say the government should prohibit this activity.

Support for the freedom to play violent video games is highly correlated with age. Eighty-two percent of people under age 35 and 70 percent of those ages 35-43 say the government should allow people to play violent video games while just half, 50 percent, of Americans ages 55 and over agree.

Unmarried men (83 percent) are considerably more likely than married men (68 percent) and both married and unmarried women (64 percent) to oppose a government ban on violent video games. In general, men are more likely to favor allowing violent video games than women, by a margin of 72 to 61 percent, nevertheless majorities of both support allowing it.

Income is also correlated with public opinion on violent video games. For instance, among Americans making less than $30,000 a year, 46 percent want the government to prohibit Americans from playing violent video games, compared to 26 percent among those making more than $30,000 a year. Seventy-one percent of those making more than $30,000 a year and 52 percent of those making less, oppose banning video games.

Majorities of political groups favor allowing violent video games, although some are more supportive than others. Independents who lean Republican are the most likely to believe violent video games should be allowed (77 percent) compared to 61 percent of Democrats. Roughly two-thirds of non-partisan independents and Democratic-leaning independents oppose a ban as do 70 percent of Republicans. Nearly eight in 10 self-identified libertarians say the government should allow this activity while just over half of progressives feel the same (78 percent to 56 percent).

Asked about their own video game use, 65 percent of respondents told Reason-Rupe they rarely or never play video games, while 34 percent said they play frequently or occasionally.  Among those who report playing frequently, 82 percent say government should allow violent video games, while 17 percent want them prohibited. In contrast, among those who never play video games 54 percent say they should be allowed and 42 percent say they should be banned.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted Dec 4-8 2013 interviewed 1011 adults on both mobile (506) and landline (505) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.7%. Princeton Survey Research Associates International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results, detailed tables, and methodology found here. Sign up for notifications of new releases of the Reason-Rupe poll here.

Correction: This post has corrected the colors in the bottom graph to match the graph legend.