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67% Say States Should Be Able to Prohibit Sale of Violent Video Games to Children

The U.S. Supreme Court last week overturned a California law that made it illegal to rent or sell violent video games to children, but Americans strongly favor such laws.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that two-out-of-three American Adults (67%) believe states should be allowed to prohibit the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. Just 28% disagree. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

While strongly supporting laws prohibiting the sale of violent video games to children, Americans feel more strongly than ever that parents are more responsible than the government for limiting the amount of sex and violence children are exposed to in those games - by a 79% to four percent (4%) margin. Fifteen percent (15%) think the video game makers are more responsible.

Thirty-nine percent (39%) say those game makers should be held liable in court, however, if it can be shown that their games led to someone committing a violent act. But that's down from 44% in April of last year. Slightly more (45%) now feel the video game makers should not be liable in such cases. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.

These latest findings are largely unchanged from a survey last November.

But 65% of all Americans are at least somewhat concerned about the level of violence in many video games today, including 45% who are Very Concerned. Thirty-three percent (33%) are not very or not at all concerned.

Fifty-five percent (55%) believe violent video games lead to more violence in our society. Thirty percent (30%) don't think that's true, but another 16% are not sure.

Overall concern about the level of violence in many video games is down from 74% in April 2010, but belief that these games lead to more societal violence is unchanged. 

Adults over 40 support the sales prohibition more strongly than those who are younger. They also express much greater concern about violent video games than younger adults and also believe more strongly that those games prompt more violence in society.

Women are far more concerned than men about the level of violence in video games and more strongly favor state laws against the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. Sixty-five percent (65%) of women believe violent video games lead to more violence in our society, a view shared by just 43% of men.

Those with children in the home (70%) are only slightly more supportive of state prohibitions on game rentals and sales to minors than those without children living with them (64%). But generally speaking the two groups are largely in agreement on the other questions.

Most Americans also believe movies have a negative impact on society and lead to an increase in violence. 

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of adults think there is too much inappropriate content on television and radio.  Thirty-nine percent (39%) say the biggest problem on TV is violence, while nearly as many (36%) say it's sexual content. Nine percent (9%) say profanity is the biggest problem area.

The Supreme Court rejected the California law dealing with violent video games on freedom of speech grounds, but 52% are willing to sacrifice freedom of speech to protect children from indecent programming

Forty-one percent (41%) of Americans say crime in their community has increased over the past year, representing a 14-point jump from a year ago. 

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion polling information.  We poll on a variety of topics in the fields of politics, business and lifestyle, updating our site's content on a news cycle throughout the day, everyday.

Rasmussen Reports Platinum Members get an all-access pass to polling news, analysis and insight not available to the general public.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade. To learn more about our methodology, click here.

The survey of 1,000 Adults nationwide was conducted on June 29-30, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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