A recent Harris poll revealed “Most Americans Opposed to Banning Any Books” (April 12, 2011):
While few Americans think that there are books which should be banned completely, opinions differ on books that should be available to children in school libraries. Strong majorities say that children should be able to get The Holy Bible (83%) and books that discuss evolution (76%) from school libraries.
Majorities also say so for other religious texts such as the Torah or Talmud (59%) and the Koran (57%), but approximately a quarter say these texts should not be available (24% and 28%, respectively) to children in school libraries. Half or more say that children should be able to get books with vampires (57%), books with references to drugs or alcohol (52%) and books with witchcraft or sorcery (50%) in school libraries, but between 34% and 41% say that each of these types of books should not be available there.
There is no consensus on books with references to sex (48% say they should be available, 45% say they should not) and violence (44% say should, 48% say should not). A majority of Americans say, however, that books with explicit language should not be available to children in school libraries (62%).
How would these results change if the “books that discuss evolution” were non-Darwinist or wrote sympathetically about design?
Older Americans are significantly more likely than those younger to say each type of book listed should not be available in school libraries with one exception-Echo Boomers (aged 18-34) are more likely than Matures (aged 66 and older) to say that The Holy Bible should not be available to children in school libraries (15% vs. 9%);
Women are more likely than men to think each type of book listed should not be available to children in school libraries with the exception of the religious texts (The Holy Bible, the Torah, Talmud and Koran), which men are slightly more likely to say should not be available; and,
The more education one has the less likely they are to say that each type of book listed should not be available to children in school libraries (there is between an 8 and 25 percentage point difference between those who have a post graduate education and those who have not attended college on what types of books should not be available to children in school libraries).