Gallup: Opposition to big government growing rapidly

posted at 11:36 am on September 21, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

To no one’s great shock, the nation has reacted to the radical nature of the Democratic agenda by expressing even more suspicion of big-government solutions.  Gallup polled adults, not registered or likely voters, and found a sharp increase in belief that government overregulates and tries to assume too much power, usually a result seen more among likely voters.  In fact, the last time such sharp reactions got measured, Democrats lost control of Congress:

Americans are more likely today than in the recent past to believe that government is taking on too much responsibility for solving the nation’s problems and is over-regulating business. New Gallup data show that 57% of Americans say the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to businesses and individuals, and 45% say there is too much government regulation of business. Both reflect the highest such readings in more than a decade. …

These two measures are based on questions Gallup has asked each September since 2001, and intermittently before that. The 57% level of public concern about big government in this survey is, among other things, coincident with an extensively increased government involvement in the economy, and the extensive focus on a large-scale government effort to reform healthcare that was underway as this survey was being conducted.

The chart shows the sudden jump upward in opposition to heavier regulation:

Interestingly, the peak of the “right amount” sentiment came in 2005, when the economy was sailing well.  Despite what the White House and the Democrats think, the notion that government regulates too little has never been popular with the American people, not even in the most liberal sampling method available.  At its best, it hit parity with “too much” and “just right” in 2002, after the economic crisis touched off by the 9/11 attacks.  It now trails “too much” by almost 2-1.

Why, then, has the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress insisted on following a regulatory path?  They appear to have fundamentally misunderstood both their mandate and the historical reasons they came to power.  Even in 2006, Americans did not elect Democrats because they yearned for more regulation and government intervention in their lives.  “Just right” dropped 10 points in 2006, while “too much” rose to 36% to lead all other options.  The country elected Democrats because of the failures of Republicans to act ethically and responsibly, not to put Nancy Pelosi in charge of the agenda.  Obama got elected because of widespread discontent with the Bush administration and the failure to select a candidate who represented enough change from it.

In misunderstanding these reasons, Democrats run the risk of squandering their opportunity to lead.  Independents now have a majority that say government overregulates, up 12 points since last year.  In another question, 57% believe that government is now trying to do too much, up from below a majority earlier in the year, while those who say government should do more has dropped to 38%.  Those numbers are actually worse among independents, 63%-33%, the Democrats’ key demographic to their 2006 and 2008 victories.

Those two elections gave Democrats an opportunity to show they could lead an essentially center-right nation on a path towards fiscal responsibility and careful use of government power.  Instead, they took it to mean that the electorate wanted them to go on an even bigger spending spree than the Republicans did, with more government intervention and more infringement on personal choices than ever before.  They’re on a high-speed rail trip to electoral disaster, and the only question now is whether Republicans can derail these increasing unpopular agenda items before they become law and before they have a chance to take back control of Congress.


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Once the unions take over an industry, they want to make sure that nobody is allowed to compete with it.

MarkTheGreat on September 21, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Financial services is almost completely non-union. Which is exactly why the Democrats are trying to kill it. All of the big unions have their own lending and even housing construction programs. ACORN is in the business now too, along with other Soros-funded outfits like NACA and Self-Help Credit Union.

The “right” to cheap credit without regard to risk is one of the chief tenets of the radical Left. Poor people with low incomes, bad credit, and no cash for a downpayment should still get the same loan terms that you or I would get. Anything else is “discriminatory” and “prevents poor people from building wealth the way rich people do.”

rockmom on September 21, 2009 at 1:24 PM

And how much food are we now importing because of the little fishies out in California?

Knucklehead on September 21, 2009 at 12:26 PM

Check it out:
http://www.fultonsun.com/articles/2009/08/28/news/166news01.txt

Vertical integration in ag, & everything else.
Global markets. So now we gotta stay more competitive, so we have to Walmarticize everything in order to compete.
This is why your food tastes like NOTHING.
This is why when you travel you can eat a McDonald’s everywhere.
Do we really want the ‘sterilization’ of our culture?
Do we really want small producers of everything to be put out of business to stay globally competitve?
Do you want to buy your food & everything else from just one or 2 global companies?!
Wake up people.
Global trade is not the best solution.
Soon we will all be working for one giant multi-conglomerated company.
THAT will be our governement someday.

Badger40 on September 21, 2009 at 1:26 PM

Anything else is “discriminatory” and “prevents poor people from building wealth the way rich people do.”

rockmom on September 21, 2009 at 1:24 PM

If anything stops poor people from building wealth, it the confiscation of our ‘property’ by the govt.
The bigger & richer you are, perhaps the better tax deals, etc you get.
Make a little too much, you go toanother tax bracket & get the $hit taxed out of you.
Don;’t work enough, you can never make & save enough to become rich.
One tax to get rid of:
the death tax.
What an evil POS tax I’ve ever seen.
I don’t care what your estate is worth: $1 or $10 million.
TRhe govt should have absolutely NO right to your $$ when you die.

Badger40 on September 21, 2009 at 1:29 PM

The current Republicans don’t want to derail the Democrats. They want to hijack their train and run it toward the same station(fascism) at half the speed. I want Republicans who desire to blow up the train and tear up the tracks.

SKYFOX on September 21, 2009 at 1:32 PM

If I had my druthers, I would vote out in 2010 every Congress critter and Senator that has been in more than 5 years, start from scratch with new people and give them TERM limits and they had better represent the people or the’re out. WE THE PEOPLE need to take back our country.

concernedsenior on September 21, 2009 at 1:33 PM

A tyranny may exist without an individual tyrant. A whole government, even a democratically elected one may be tyrannical.” Joseph Sobran

Makes you think about what the celebrities think when they hug and kiss Castro, Chavez, Kadafi, Putin, et.al. They honestly believe these are not “dictators” because they use the term “democracy” in their description of their politics. Sheesh! And why the Uberleft with POTUS and his minions are trying to pass everything they want and think we should have as quickly as possible, down our throats.

sharinlite on September 21, 2009 at 1:46 PM

I want Republicans who desire to blow up the train and tear up the tracks.
SKYFOX on September 21, 2009

Good luck with that….If some do come to our side they are quickly slapped down by the RHINOs in charge of the party right now.

The whole system…both parties are rotten to the core (I don’t care what Rush says)and we need to dismantle the current orwellian socialist system and restore the previous constitutional republic.

The American people need the reset button.

Goodeye_Closed on September 21, 2009 at 1:47 PM

I don’t know if any of you have already seen this video, but it is definitely worth checking out. Believe it or not, a 16 year old did it.

It brought me to tears. Pass it around, and somebody at the RNC….hire this kid!!

http://d.yimg.com/kq/groups/15523565/1322781786/name/TeaPartyCommercial.wmv

MississippiMom on September 21, 2009 at 1:48 PM

New Gallup data show that 57% of Americans say the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to businesses and individuals

really??
Only 57%?
Do we have to turn in to the Soviet Union for a healthy 70% to see that there is a problem?

Goodeye_Closed on September 21, 2009 at 1:52 PM

Brought to yu by a post-racial president

bluegrass on September 21, 2009 at 1:53 PM

really??
Only 57%?
Do we have to turn in to the Soviet Union for a healthy 70% to see that there is a problem?

Goodeye_Closed on September 21, 2009 at 1:52 PM

The root fo the problem.
Freeloaders & ignorant morons make up a large part of our population.

Badger40 on September 21, 2009 at 1:56 PM

sharinlite on September 21, 2009 at 1:46 PM

And to further that, pure democracy is tyrranical.
Only a republic saves the minorities from the mobs & ensures all equal protection.

Badger40 on September 21, 2009 at 1:58 PM

It pains me to say this – “big government” sentiments are really driven more by economic conditions than a real understanding and reverence for our Constitution.

CliffHanger on September 21, 2009 at 2:20 PM

CliffHanger on September 21, 2009 at 2:20 PM

That has always pained me.
Ergo the ignorant morons in our population.

Badger40 on September 21, 2009 at 2:25 PM

This is a good opportunity for the GOP to clearly distance from the Bush administration, which also tripled debt and abandoned the fiscal responsibility mantle.

AnninCA on September 21, 2009 at 2:36 PM


They appear to have fundamentally misunderstood both their mandate and the historical reasons they came to power.

They won!! Thats what Obama keeps reminding everybody. Which means they rule! Not govern. Doesn’t matter what the great unwashed wants. They have the Elite Media in their pockets so no scrutiny is coming. Get enough of the ignorant bumpkins on the public dole before the next election and it ain’t going to matter what the polls say!
That’s why all their actions will actually hurt the economy!
Or we have the biggest bunch of incompetents since Carter!!!

chickasaw42 on September 21, 2009 at 2:59 PM

Soon we will all be working for one giant multi-conglomerated company.
THAT will be our governement someday.

Badger40 on September 21, 2009 at 1:26 PM

I like to tell people that the John Birch Society had it all wrong. We already have One World Government. It is called Citigroup/GE/Walmart.

rockmom on September 21, 2009 at 3:04 PM

Name one thing that government does that is efficient, cost effective and preserves liberty? Just one, I will wait.

tarpon on September 21, 2009 at 3:22 PM

Name one thing that government does that is efficient, cost effective and preserves liberty? Just one, I will wait.

tarpon on September 21, 2009 at 3:22 PM

I’m not a fan of big government, but I’ll take a shot at your question:

1.) Military
2.) Highways
3.) CDC

It is easy to point out waste in each of those areas, but they need to be weighed against a possible alternative (e.g., private enterprise) not some perfectly efficient ideal.

dedalus on September 21, 2009 at 3:33 PM

Our dear Leader is back on the boob tube as I type. What will his poll numbers be after his Sunday Obama-a-Thon?

Does this guy ever work?

Knucklehead on September 21, 2009 at 11:59 AM

He never worked a day in his life before getting elected to the WH. Why would he start now?? As with Clinton, the democrats never leave campaign mode. They need to keep that koolaid flowing lest they lose some of the empty headed Demobots from the party line. Any thinking American has been wondering for months when he was ever going to plant his butt in the Oval Office chair and actually do some work. When you have someone else writing all of your legislation for you, and you never read it anyway, I guess you have plenty of time for speeches, date nights, shopping sprees, etc.

outnumberedinparadise on September 21, 2009 at 4:23 PM

I’d take number 2 and 3 off that list. Highways are great, but not constructed efficiently. The CDC does a good job, but suffers from the same political pressures the rest of the federal organizations do. That can make them suspect.

Everything went south when the courts allowed the feds into our individual lives through the commerce clause. They have no right to tell us how we live on our own land, raise our children or how we spend the money we make.

Throw the bums out, and start again.

archer52 on September 21, 2009 at 4:25 PM

We all are on the offensive for combating the Socialist agenda of DC. No one will survive the midterm and the 2012 election cycle.

hawkman on September 21, 2009 at 4:49 PM

hawkman on September 21, 2009 at 4:49 PM

Wish I could agree. There is a lot of willful ignorance in this country. Even smart and/or well educated people just don’t seem to have the same facts, historical grounding, or philosophy we as commenters on Hot Air have.

One example: I know a government worker at the Census Bureau. That person is ignorant of any link between ACORN and the Census. This corrupt tie to ACORN has been a reality on Hot Air.com for several months.

NaCly dog on September 21, 2009 at 5:19 PM

AnninCA on September 21, 2009 at 2:36 PM

ROFLOL

While he added to the debt he did not triple it. Here I thought you said you were a communications guru.

chemman on September 21, 2009 at 6:18 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Hassan Nemazee, a fund-raiser for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, has been indicted for defrauding Bank of America, HSBC and Citigroup Inc out of more than $290 million in loan proceeds, U.S. prosecutors said on Monday

The corrupt Dems???

seven on September 21, 2009 at 7:11 PM

My main worry is that the ‘fiscally responsible’ Republicans tend to want to manage the things already taken over by previous Congresses and Administrations.

Say the word ‘Rollback’ and that sort gets hives.

Now with so much getting put under federal ‘help’ Republicans who are ‘fiscally responsible’ will just want to manage those parts, stimulate the much smaller free sector of the economy and try to balance the books… ignoring the fact that those parts they are trying to ‘manage’ don’t belong IN government in the first place.

As a reminder – folks thought that Reagan was going to be a ‘Chainsaw Al’ and get rid of the Dept of Education. He didn’t. He also increased the size of government. Getting tax cuts to make the government’s books balance ignored that it shouldn’t be in education as it was not given to the federal level in any way, shape or form in the first place. Reagan talked a great game, but didn’t carry through. To give Clinton his due, he supported the only rollback we have seen in the last 60 years, and that on welfare reform. Yes he had to be talked into it. At least he did that.

I will not vote for that sort of ‘fiscally responsible’ Republican who gets hives at the concept of ‘Rollback’: they are enablers of big government.

And if you want term limits, may I suggest an Amendment to the Constitution? How about changing that baby to get us 1:30,000 in representation and no staff so we can have the fun of watching over 9,000 Representatives try to get anything done? Those two, combined, will clear out the detritus in government. If you want to be represented by non-career representatives then you need BOTH the representation AND non-career portion hit.

ajacksonian on September 21, 2009 at 7:46 PM

Wait till the Lightbulb mandate kicks in around 2012. Thanks Bush for that one.

Clyde5445 on September 21, 2009 at 8:00 PM

It’s gotten Biden all wee-wee’d up. He’s already thinking the dems are going to lose control of the House of Representatives and trying to rah rah the troops a full year ahead of the elections. They all deserve to be put out to pasture. All of them. Don’t give us the usual excuse that its not ‘my congressman.’ It is your congressman. Please, even if your man (or woman’s opponent is a gas station owner, elect him with with the expectation of hope and change.

kens on September 22, 2009 at 9:53 AM

It’s not just business, energy, health care, etc. etc. that are over-regulated.

I live in a very rural area, southern Sierra mountains on the desert side. 5 years ago when I moved here, I could ride a horse or walk my dogs right out my front gate onto BLM land. A couple years ago, they decided to make the BLM land an ecological preserve, so the horse is verboten, I can walk my dogs on a leash, but I must absolutely stay on the road. Dogs and horses are SO bad for the environment…

The bugs, lizards, rattlesnakes, coyotes, sagebrush, digger pines, etc. are ubiquitous, nothing very unusual here. We do have some unusual bird migrations, but a horse or dogs isn’t going to impact bird migrations much.

So though I live in the absolute middle of nowhere, I have to drive 19 miles to find a place my dogs can run free.

I don’t object to conservation, but how about some balance with liberty?

jodetoad on September 22, 2009 at 4:13 PM

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