Poll: Less than half of Republicans believe free press important for democracy
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Less than half of Republicans say the media's freedom to criticize politicians is very important to democracy, a new poll says.

A Pew Research Center poll released Thursday found that only 49 percent of Republicans view press criticism as very important for maintaining a strong democracy, while 76 percent of Democrats said so.

Despite the sharp partisan divide on the question of press criticism, the poll revealed that both parties are in agreement on several major issues.

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Eighty-nine percent of all respondents said fair and open national elections are very important to maintaining a strong democracy.

And 83 percent said the same is true about a system of checks and balances that divides power between three branches of government.

According to the poll, 77 percent of Americans are also in agreement that it would be "too risky" to vest more power in the presidency.

The Pew Research Center poll surveyed a pool of 1,503 adults between Feb. 7-12. The margin of error is 2.9 percent.