Record Number of Americans Think Government is Too Powerful

Gallup released the results of a survey yesterday showing a record number of Americans now believe the government has too much power.

Gallup writes:

Six in 10 Americans (60%) believe the federal government has too much power, one percentage point above the previous high recorded in September 2010. At least half of Americans since 2005 have said the government has too much power. Thirty-two percent now say the government has the right amount of power. Few say it has too little power.

Participants were asked: Do you think the federal government today has too much power, has about the right amount of power, or has too little power?


The results were divided on political lines with a new record of registered Republicans (81%) now believing that the federal government has too much power, whereas only 38% of Democrats think it does. However, that is the highest rate of Democrats in the “too much government power” category since Obama has taken office, according to Gallup.

The highest amount of Independents (65% same high as 2010) also now believe the government is too powerful.

Although the partisan divide remains staggeringly large between Democrats and Republicans with a 43% difference, that gap is rapidly shrinking from its high of 53% in 2009.

Gallup summarizes the political results like this:

Though Republicans tend to be more skeptical of government overall, this concern was tempered while President Bush was in office. However, Republicans’ concern reached new highs when Obama took office in 2009. 

On the other hand, though Democrats tend to be more comfortable with a more active government, more than half became concerned with the U.S. government’s power toward the end of the Bush years.

Gallup does not speculate as to why this number has grown across the political spectrum, but it seems likely that the massive amount of domestic spying may have something to do with it.


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