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Americans Disagree With Mitt Romney: Corporations Aren't People

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Whatever Mitt Romney says, the American people aren't buying this whole "corporations are people" thing.

More than half of Americans said corporations aren't people, and they shouldn't be given the same constitutional rights as citizens, according to surveys conducted by Legal Progress, a program ran by the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress.

The poll, conducted throughout 2010 and 2011, also found that most Americans, by a margin of three to one, say there should be a limit to the amount corporations can contribute to campaigns.

The debate over corporate personhood has intensified in the wake of the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in the famed Citizen United case that corporations have the same constitutional rights as people to choose their elected officials -- and therefore have the ability to make unlimited political contributions.

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney only added fuel to the fire when he declared corporations to be people last August.

Some inside the Occupy movement have also zeroed in on the issue of corporate personhood, with protesters demonstrating in front of the Supreme Court and in Zuccotti Park on the second anniversary of the ruling earlier this month, the Washington Post reports.

But corporations do not currently enjoy all the rights guaranteed to citizens, corporate law expert Kent Greenfield wrote for the Washington Post. They cannot, for example, plead the fifth or avoid self-incrimination.

That grey area has been a source of material for political satirists such as Stephen Colbert. His "deep and abiding interest in the matter of corporate rights" goes so far that he has argued that parents should let their daughters date corporations, The New York Times reports.

See the chart below for the results of Legal Progress' surveys. This material "Americans Agree: Corporations Aren't People" was published by the Center for American Progress:

Around the Web

Corporate personhood - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mitt Romney says 'corporations are people' - The Washington Post

Colbert Pushes 'Corporations Are People' Referendum - NYTimes.com

Fighting the notion that corporations are people

Don't think corporations are people? Join Friday protests.

Tonight: The Abolition of 'Corporate Personhood'