New Haven, Conn., Jan 9, 2017 / 09:44 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Religious freedom continues to enjoy strong backing from most Americans, a new survey says. “Majorities of Americans — regardless of party — have embraced religious freedom and have rightly rejected the false notion that it is something negative,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus said Jan. 9. “They overwhelming support the protection of our first freedom, the free exercise of religion.”

The Catholic group sponsored a Marist Poll survey of 2,729 U.S. adults conducted in December 2016. Almost 90 percent of survey respondents saw protecting religious freedom as a priority. Overall, 57 percent described it as an “immediate priority” and another 32 percent considered it an “important” priority. Another 65 percent of respondents said religious freedom should be protected even when it conflicts with government laws, while 25 percent said it should not. By partisan breakdown, 74 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of politically unaffiliated respondents, and 60 percent of Democrats backed religious freedom in cases where there is a legal conflict.

The poll also considered views of Supreme Court appointments. Eighty percent of respondents said it is an “immediate” or “important” priority to appoint Supreme Court justices who will interpret the constitution as “originally written,” and not according to what they think the constitution means today. The Marist Poll survey claims an overall margin of error of plus or minus 1.9 percentage points.

The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic fraternal society that has over 1.9 million members worldwide.