The following graph shows the percentages of GSS respondents who participated in the survey between 2012 and 2018, by partisan affiliation and age, who favor free speech absolutism (N = 5,963):
That term is a tad hyperbolic. It refers to those who say communists, atheists, homosexuals, racists, and militarists should all be allowed to speak publicly about their views. Respondents who say one or more of those groups of people should not be allowed to speak publicly about their views oppose free speech absolutism.
Those five categories do a pretty good job of touching both extreme ends of the political spectrum–communists, atheists, and homosexuals on the left; racists and militarists on the right.
While Republicans are hardly the party of free speech–that’s what third parties are for!–Democrats have increasingly become the party of censorship. The intellectual totalitarianism is especially pronounced among young leftists, though younger people of all affiliations are less tolerant of free expression than older people are.
The tendency towards younger people being more censorial than their elders is a new phenomenon. From the surveys inception in the early seventies through the turn of the millennia, an average of 46.4% of those under the age of 30 supported free speech absolutism compared to 41.2% of those aged 30 and older.
Don’t get excited about these late 20th century figures being modestly lower than those during the Great Awokening, though. It’s entirely due–and then some–to the seismic shift in views of homosexuality from then to now. You may view that shift as a moral triumph, but it doesn’t tell us much about attitudes towards free speech. Because the issue of free speech by its very nature concerns subjects that are controversial, that 90% of the population now takes no issue with homosexuals speaking publicly, compared to the 65% who felt the same way in the seventies, means that it doesn’t really qualify as controversial anymore.
GSS variables used: YEAR, PARTYID(0-1)(2-4)(5-6)(7), SPKRAC, SPKCOM, SPKHOMO, SPKMIL, SPKATH, AGE(18-29)(30-39)