Pew: Majority now believes federal gov’t a threat to their freedom

posted at 12:01 pm on February 1, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Get out of town!  Why would Americans increasingly believe that?  It’s not as if the federal government has forced them to buy insurance for the privilege of breathing, threatened to grab their firearms, or imposed a new and restrictive definition of “free expression” of religion.

Oh, wait

As Barack Obama begins his second term in office, trust in the federal government remains mired near a historic low, while frustration with government remains high. And for the first time, a majority of the public says that the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 9-13 among 1,502 adults, finds that 53% think that the federal government threatens their own personal rights and freedoms while 43% disagree.

In March 2010, opinions were divided over whether the government represented a threat to personal freedom; 47% said it did while 50% disagreed. In surveys between 1995 and 2003, majorities rejected the idea that the government threatened people’s rights and freedoms.

The change, says Pew, comes largely from conservative Republicans, who went from 62% to 76% over the last 34 months.  However, a majority of self-described independents (55%) believe the same thing, almost the exact same as “moderate/liberal Republicans,” an increase of five points in that period.  That sentiment also increased among Democrats, going from 34% to 38%. Note, too, that the comparison takes place with March 2010, when Congress shoved ObamaCare into law despite widespread opposition that still exists today.

The history of this question in the series is illuminating, too:

Note the previous significant shift in opinion, which took place between August 2002 and October 2003.  That’s probably attributable to the Patriot Act, which Barack Obama used to oppose but liked a whole lot more once he took office.  Before that, the most significant shift was optimistic, right after 9/11, after pessimism had climbed throughout the Clinton administration.

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake connects some of the dots:

This is an important piece of data to keep in mind as Congress debates new gun legislation. While polls show broad support for expanding background checks and limiting the manufacture and sale of certain types of so-called assault weapons, the flip side of that is that many Americans are wary of their government going too far in restricting their constitutional rights — be it on guns or anything else.

And if gun rights supporters can convince the public (and members of Congress) that the legislation creates a too-powerful federal government that impinges on people’s rights and freedoms, they may help reverse their early deficit in the polls.

The American public is very receptive to such a message.

For good reason.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3

You shouldn’t trust them, they are practicing to get you. This is also happening in Miami, Chicago, Boston and Minneapolis.

Take a look – http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=8971311

dancertx on February 2, 2013 at 3:19 PM

listens2glenn on February 1, 2013 at 7:48 PM

.
Give it a rest. Romney sucked donkey balls. I’m surprised he got as many votes as he did, especially after hiring endless surrogates who endlessly trashed conservatives beyond any point of political usefulness or reasoning then dumping tens of millions of dollars of negative ads on their heads whose vicious tone and substance he couldn’t come close to matching against Obama.

Really — is it any surprise he couldn’t deliver the goods on election day?

rrpjr on February 2, 2013 at 12:58 PM

.
Like (expletive), I’m “giving it a rest”.

Mitt Romney IS (present tense) a “lesser evil.”

Mitt Romney’s imperfections were NOT a valid “grounds basis” for sitting out the election.

My prior statement still STANDS:

I predict that ALL of you who didn’t vote for a POTUS candidate this last time because “there’s no difference between them”, will eventually learn just how badly you (expletive) yourselves, and the REST of us.
That’s not saying “I hope you will” … That’s saying “you WILL.”

listens2glenn on February 1, 2013 at 7:48 PM

.
“GIVING IT A REST” BE DAMNED !

listens2glenn on February 2, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Behaviors and actions have consequences. The idea that every republican or conservative is blood-bound to vote for a pathologically risk-averse, mealy-mouthed “lesser evil” because the threat to the nation is so dire at some point can’t sustain itself. Blaming people isn’t going to change anything, or change their behavior. You need to inspire and motivate them. You ALWAYS need to do that.

rrpjr on February 2, 2013 at 4:42 PM

Behaviors and actions have consequences. The idea that every republican or conservative is blood-bound to vote for a pathologically risk-averse, mealy-mouthed “lesser evil” because the threat to the nation is so dire at some point can’t sustain itself. Blaming people isn’t going to change anything, or change their behavior. You need to inspire and motivate them. You ALWAYS need to do that.

rrpjr on February 2, 2013 at 4:42 PM

.
.
Citizens who don’t vote, HAVE NO SAY. . . . Translation:

“If you didn’t vote for a president this past election, then you’ve lost ALL VALIDITY as regards complaining about, or criticizing President Barack Obama. Period.”

listens2glenn on February 2, 2013 at 5:35 PM

I don’t get it.

verbaluce on February 1, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Of course you don’t.

But you will.

Solaratov on February 2, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Pew: Majority now believes federal gov’t a threat to their freedom

Yeah, that gun control push was a brilliant idea!

There Goes The Neighborhood on February 3, 2013 at 12:49 AM

I see that all of the “blame Romney” folks are here today. You folks are a bunch of fools – who the hell do you people think could have beat santa obambi in November? The a$$holes that stayed home are the ones to blame and some of the folks complaining did just that.

VegasRick on February 1, 2013 at 12:35 PM

NOT ROMNEY!!

If Romney couldn’t give people a reason to vote for him, there’s no sense in blaming anyone else.

There Goes The Neighborhood on February 3, 2013 at 12:59 AM

Pew: Majority now believes federal gov’t a threat to their freedom

.
Yeah, that gun control push was a brilliant idea!

There Goes The Neighborhood on February 3, 2013 at 12:49 AM

.
They have GOT to disarm the American citizen, before they can accomplish their ultimate goal.

They were CHEERING (behind closed doors) when news of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre hit the airwaves and computer networks.
They seriously believed this was “in the bag” for them, and that the wave of emotion calling for more “gun-control” would carry the day.
They milked it for all it was worth, and then some.
But pro-Second Amendment advocates reacted stronger, and with more numbers than they originally counted on.

Well, the resistance had held strong for the last month and a half, but they’re not through by a long-shot.
They’re not giving up on that ultimate goal, and the armed American citizen stands in the way.

listens2glenn on February 3, 2013 at 1:13 AM

Romney was better than Obama. But if you want to push out an incumbent, you have to be a lot better. And you have to make the case for being better on multiple grounds.

Romney deserved to lose, and I think everyone knows it. I’d be fine with that if Obama could have lost also. But instead we’re stuck with him.

There Goes The Neighborhood on February 3, 2013 at 1:20 AM

If Romney couldn’t give people a reason to vote for him, there’s no sense in blaming anyone else.

There Goes The Neighborhood on February 3, 2013 at 12:59 AM

.
What I said to rrpjr earlier:
.

I predict that ALL of you who didn’t vote for a POTUS candidate this last time because “there’s no difference between them”, will eventually learn just how badly you (expletive) yourselves, and the REST of us.
That’s not saying “I hope you will” … That’s saying “you WILL.”

listens2glenn on February 1, 2013 at 7:48 PM

Citizens who don’t vote, HAVE NO SAY. . . . Translation:

“If you didn’t vote for a president this past election, then you’ve lost ALL VALIDITY as regards complaining about, or criticizing President Barack Obama. Period.”

listens2glenn on February 2, 2013 at 5:35 PM

.
I’m frustrated by this “lesser evil” business too, but sitting out this election was inexcusable. : (

listens2glenn on February 3, 2013 at 1:20 AM

I’m being tugged to bed … we’ll pick it up here tomorrow.

listens2glenn on February 3, 2013 at 1:22 AM

Yet many of the same damn people want more government involvement in their lives. What am I not getting?

bgibbs1000 on February 3, 2013 at 7:02 AM

I’m frustrated by this “lesser evil” business too, but sitting out this election was inexcusable. : (

listens2glenn on February 3, 2013 at 1:20 AM

I’m in the same boat. Romney was no conservative, but “sitting out” is barely one step of blasphemy to me because I know what it took to give me the right to vote. Even if the only person I can vote for in good conscience is 3rd-party.

It is just morally inexcusable to stay home. Write in Daffy Duck if you wanna make a point, just frigging GO!

MelonCollie on February 3, 2013 at 12:40 PM

You shouldn’t trust them, they are practicing to get you. This is also happening in Miami, Chicago, Boston and Minneapolis.

Take a look – http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=8971311

dancertx on February 2, 2013 at 3:19 PM

This isn’t practice. Practice was Waco in 1993 where the federal government murdered 84 people including 21 children under the age of 16. (look it up Waco massacre, and Branch Davidians) This is preparation and the reason the federal government agencies are buying BILLIONS of rounds of hollow point ammunition. Get out of line and they will kill you. And your family. Including your infant children.

woodNfish on February 3, 2013 at 8:30 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3