Gallup: Number of Americans who think federal government has too much power reaches record level

posted at 11:21 am on September 24, 2013 by Allahpundit

As someone on Twitter said yesterday: If only there was a political party of some kind that could capitalize on this increasingly popular sentiment.

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…

This new high encompasses Republicans (81%), who are now more likely than at any time since 2002 to say the government has too much power, and Democrats (38%), who now are more likely to say this than at any time since President Barack Obama took office in 2009.

Republicans, Democrats, and independents have each grown more likely to say government is too powerful this year.

The party trend lines are more interesting than the topline numbers:

fp

Any news showing growing skepticism of big government is good news, but whenever I see data like this suggesting a turn towards restraint, I think of those fantastically bleak Pew polls that ask people which federal programs, specifically, deserve spending cuts. Here’s one that’s barely six months old. It’s a cliche but it’s true: Americans are for small government in the aggregate, as a philosophical matter, and never more so than right now per Gallup, but when you get down in the weeds of starving the beast, they turn into liberals. The only realm of federal spending that Pew finds a plurality in favor of cutting is foreign aid, which is peanuts vis-a-vis the total budget. Once you get to meaty mandatory spending on Social Security and Medicare, you get more than 80 percent saying they either want to maintain current spending or actually *increase* it. Democrats love to laugh at the thought of someone at an ObamaCare protest holding one sign that says “Less government” and another that says “Hands off my Medicare,” but that’s the effect of the Gallup poll vis-a-vis Pew, I think. Ask yourself: How seriously should we take this data when the public’s simultaneously telling other pollsters that they oppose defunding ObamaCare irrespective of a shutdown?

Anyway, a few notes on the graph above. One: As you’d expect, having a Republican president in office keeps the partisan trend lines bunched together while having a Democrat in office creates a giant gap. Under Bush, Democrats were apt to be more skeptical of government power because they distrusted the man but their affinity for government power in principle kept that distrust in check. The opposite was true for Republicans. Once O was sworn in, those checks were gone; distrust of the president personally aligned with ideological tendencies and the two lines diverged sharply. Two: Even so, the percentage of Democrats who say the federal government has gotten too powerful is greater now than it was circa 2003 under Bush. Maybe that’s just the residue of bipartisan goodwill that Bush enjoyed after 9/11, but it’s within 10 points of where Democrats were as late as the end of 2004. Three: Nick Gillespie of Reason says the trend among independents is the most intriguing because it continues to rise without any obvious partisan explanation, signaling a broader ideological (libertarian?) shift. Fair enough, although the trend line among indies reversed shortly before both of Obama’s election victories in 2008 and 2012. Evidently O was able to sell them on bigger government with a full-court messaging press during a campaign, at least for awhile. Last year, the percentage who say the feds have too much power actually dropped to the same level that indies were at circa 2006. Until a few months ago, there were fewer indies objecting to big government than there were in 2010 and 2011.

Fourth and finally: The reason we’re suddenly at a record high seems pretty obvious, no? There’s a sharp spike at the very right-hand edge of the graph, which almost certainly is a reaction to the NSA scandal and, likely to a lesser degree, the revelations about the IRS targeting tea partiers and the DOJ targeting reporters for leaks. Whether that spike can be sustained over time, and especially under a new Republican president, remains to be seen.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

SHUT IT DOWN! STARVE THE BEAST!

nazo311 on September 24, 2013 at 11:25 AM

As someone on Twitter said yesterday: If only there was a political party of some kind that could capitalize on this increasingly popular sentiment.

Yeah, but then bloggers would just post up some crap polls that show that the public doesn’t really want them to do anything about it, or something.

Midas on September 24, 2013 at 11:26 AM

90% of the fed govt is unconstitutional. We wouldn’t even need wage/income taxes were the fed govt at constitutional size.

Akzed on September 24, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Americans are for small government in the aggregate, as a philosophical matter, and never more so than right now per Gallup, but when you get down in the weeds of starving the beast, they turn into liberals.

Which is why we can’t have nice things anymore.

rbj on September 24, 2013 at 11:29 AM

And no one can do anything about it.

albill on September 24, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Don’t worry McConnell will save us.

Oil Can on September 24, 2013 at 11:34 AM

That graph proves a large majority of Democrats are idiots. Obama increased government power in every facet. Doubled down on every single Bush policy that expanded government power, but yet Democrats saw him coming into power as a decrease in government power.

Morons. The lot of them.

ButterflyDragon on September 24, 2013 at 11:40 AM

We don’t like it!

Wah, we don’t like it!

Waaaaaaaaaaaah, we don’t like it!

WE DO NOTHING … NOTHING.

Our Forefathers … our Fathers … are ashamed of us.

Next year, even more will think that the State has too much power.

And next year … WE WILL DO NOTHING.

OhEssYouCowboys on September 24, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Alternative Headline:

40% of Americans voluntarily live in slavery

ShainS on September 24, 2013 at 11:42 AM

We don’t like it!

Wah, we don’t like it!

Waaaaaaaaaaaah, we don’t like it!

WE DO NOTHING … NOTHING.

Our Forefathers … our Fathers … are ashamed of us.

Next year, even more will think that the State has too much power.

And next year … WE WILL DO NOTHING.

OhEssYouCowboys on September 24, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Go for it, bro.

You seem to have something in mind. Have at it.

Good Lt on September 24, 2013 at 11:45 AM

I put no value in these polls. They are all schizophrenic. Supposedly, 60% of US citizens believe the Federal government has too much power and yet:

1. Very few are willing to see the Federal government shut down
2. Very few can identify any laws that they want to see repealed.
3. Very few can identify any cabinet level departments they would eliminate.
4. Very few can identify any specific spending that they want to see cut

This poll is a joke.

antifederalist on September 24, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Gallup: Number of Americans who think federal government has too much power reaches record level

A trailing indicator. Hope it’s not too late.

petefrt on September 24, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Go for it, bro.

You seem to have something in mind. Have at it.

Good Lt on September 24, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Thank you, Bro.

You are Exhibit A.

Bro.

OhEssYouCowboys on September 24, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Yeah, but then bloggers would just post up some crap polls that show that the public doesn’t really want them to do anything about it, or something.

Yeah, polls are crap. Unless they show stuff that favors our side, in which case, post away.

Allahpundit on September 24, 2013 at 11:49 AM

4. Very few can identify any specific spending that they want to see cut

This poll is a joke.

antifederalist on September 24, 2013 at 11:46 AM

The polls are accurate. It’s the public being polled that is a joke. As AllahPundit is wont to point out, even self-identified Tea Party members oppose any cuts in entitlement spending. The American public wants its Carnival Cruise, and it will max out that Capital One Visa to enjoy it.

Ted Torgerson on September 24, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Liberty is hard. :( Where’s my iPhone5, y0?

Jeddite on September 24, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Americans waking up to Zimbabwean leader, obama up front.

They rule you like Mugabe. omaba even won in similar fashion.

Well, stop x-mas shopping in Aug/Sept and show some spine. Otherwise enjoy their raping.

Btw, you squishy R worms are more despicable than Kucinich. He, at least, consistently believes in communism. He deserves more respect for having a spine.

Schadenfreude on September 24, 2013 at 11:51 AM

I’m sick of polls and I don’t care what all the idiots out there think!!

It’s only at 60%? I’m sorry, but how many of the people surveyed can even locate the US on a world map. Probably less than 15%.

If you have never paid federal income taxes, then you shouldn’t be allowed to vote. And I don’t want to hear about your stupid, idiot opinions in any of these poll reports.

bluegill on September 24, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Once again, as with all things obama, disbelief must be suspeneded

Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama justified the NSA’s spying programs, arguing they have helped to stabilize the world in the five years since he took office.

“As a result of this work, and the cooperation of its allies and partners, the world is more stable than it was five years ago,” the president said on Tuesday morning.

Nonetheless, Obama also told the audience that the United States would review its surveillance practices due to concerns raised by the international community. Prior to the president’s speech, in her own remarks, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff sharply criticized the U.S. program, calling it a “breach of international law” and “totally unacceptable.”

“You lie” were the truest words ever spoken about this narcissistic thuggish goon of the world.

He spoke at the UN as if Putin wasn’t riding on his back, as if he’d invented the Syria plan.

Demons rule/roam the world.

Schadenfreude on September 24, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Yeah, polls are crap. Unless they show stuff that favors our side, in which case, post away.

Allahpundit on September 24, 2013 at 11:49 AM

So, you’re saying we should follow your example… got it.

Midas on September 24, 2013 at 11:53 AM

God damnit Independents are morons.

Democrats I understand – they merely want to use the government to take things from some people and give it to themselves. At least they’re honest about their fascism.

Independents are just stupid people that believe whatever ad comes on during their nightly viewing of the Kardashian reality show.

ramesees on September 24, 2013 at 11:57 AM

So, you’re saying we should follow your example… got it.

Thanks as always for the page views, Midas.

Allahpundit on September 24, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Shifting ALL federal employees off their gratuitously inflated benefits and onto Obamacare, effective immediately, would be a good start.

They’d think twice about shoving this kind of garbage down the throats of “their own.”

It’s not just Congress that needs to share the misery. All federal employees. Period.

marybel on September 24, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Go for it, bro.

You seem to have something in mind. Have at it.

Good Lt on September 24, 2013 at 11:45 AM

One word: disobey. The particulars are up to you; this is a target-rich environment.

And yes, you have to be willing to go to jail. You have to be willing to confront the National Guard. Think early ’60′s.

None of this will change until it gets to that point.

Bat Chain Puller on September 24, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Gallup: Number of Americans who think federal government has too much power reaches record level

Frogs in pots of water come to mind.

Too late, little froggies, the pot is boiling now.

UltimateBob on September 24, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Unfortunately, this doesn’t concern Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, John Boehner and Eric Cantor any more than it concerns Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

bw222 on September 24, 2013 at 12:13 PM

The big problem is that conservatives have not been able to effectively articulate things like the inefficiency of things like the Department of education to the general public. Most Republican major contributors (e.g. the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, etc.) are conservatives only when it helps them earn their next billion. They couldn’t care less about the future of the United states.

bw222 on September 24, 2013 at 12:18 PM

1) The Republicans must provide the necessary leadership to change the polls, not govern based on them. That’s what Democrats do.

huckleberryfriend on September 24, 2013 at 10:54 AM

That’s the crux of it…

Gohawgs on September 24, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Schadenfreude on September 24, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Plan A: Defund. All for it.

Plan B: Give the enemy what they want in a way they cannot accept it:

As Ulysses Grant observed: “I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution.”

Surely if Democrats love Obamacare they will strip out waivers, exemptions and all power of the President to pick and choose what to do and not to do with the law. Put a 10 year penalty on anyone in the chain of command who tries it. And with any hiccup, any problem in execution, any minor glitch the entire law is suspended until the Executive Branch can come back and tell Congress what the problems are with the law.

Apply Obamacare with no masks, no nicities, fully with the provisos for full implementation as given, no exceptions and all waivers nullified and no new ones coming and let the Executive show just how good it is at executing the law that this President signed on to and wanted. If it can’t be done the entire thing is suspended, all funding is suspended and at the beginning of the next FY reverts to the Treasury with all positions dissolved. No enforcement of any part of the law could be done until the entire thing, top to bottom, with all parts and add-ons, is shown to have a feasible and workable plan from the Executive for Congress to vote on.

That makes simple defunding look like the sweet and nice option.

And at that point no one could gainsay that Congresscritters weren’t serious about removing favoritism from the law’s execution and wants it done JUST as the bill describes. You know, the ‘trainwreck’ option.

That is Option B: trainwreck and then close down that rail spur until someone can show a way it can work as this canyon just can’t be crossed. When the enemy holds ground that isn’t easily taken, then let them keep it and cut it off some other way. Amazing what happens when the lines of supply get cut off…and if that is where the Democratic Party wishes to be, then so be it. Give them what they want in a way that they can’t accept nor that they can refuse. Their choice: do you support the law as written or not?

Bad laws make hard choices. Give Democrats and RINO’s a hard choice to make.

Defund, first.

Point out that it is nicer than Option B which will be coming their way.

Option C is the right way to fund government: department by department, agency by agency. Fund everything except those parts of the government necessary to enforce Obamacare. Put this fight being over the IRS and HHS and see what great supporters the IRS has.

Defund.

Poison.

Excise.

One of these will do it, if there are any guts amongst those supporting defunding as it defines what comes next with more Stupid Reid and Obama tricks. And the last is just simple bills that Reid will be saying that he just loves the IRS as it is, as well as HHS if he tries to gut and replace and the House says ‘just vote up or down, we will trust the American People to send what they think government needs to run to the Treasury on 15 APR and will not penalize for late payments or allow any penalties in this instance’. Who knows this might just get rid of Obamacare and the IRS, both… too bad it is Option C.

ajacksonian on September 24, 2013 at 7:57 AM

Schadenfreude on September 24, 2013 at 12:24 PM

It’s only at 60%? I’m sorry, but how many of the people surveyed can even locate the US on a world map. Probably less than 15%.

Heck, they couldn’t locate the land on a map of North America.

If you have never paid federal income taxes, then you shouldn’t be allowed to vote. And I don’t want to hear about your stupid, idiot opinions in any of these poll reports.

bluegill on September 24, 2013 at 11:52 AM

You racist, you :) You’re totally right, of course.

Schadenfreude on September 24, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Why’s come you got no tattoo?

Seriously, we’re there.

ex_machina on September 24, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Why’s come you got no tattoo?

Seriously, we’re there already.

ex_machina on September 24, 2013 at 12:29 PM

As someone on Twitter said yesterday: If only there was a political party of some kind that could capitalize on this increasingly popular sentiment.

If this polling really is true, why does the electorate keep on electing and re-electing politicians who keep expanding the size, scope, and power of the federal government?

Seems I keep seeing polls like this, but come election time the opposite routinely happens.

If this is true the electorate should be able to count on all GOP politicians to oppose any and all expansion of the power and scope of the federal government over the electorate. But it can’t.

We can’t because most politicians look out for themselves and they pander (and lie) to people, in one way or another, to get elected and re-elected. Even people who allegedly hold the view that the federal government has too much power can be bought off or deceived. And they are.

Or they are frightened by “the other guy” who is running. That is how Comrade O got himself re-elected. In the dirtiest sleaziest campaign in modern history our socialist Liar-In-Chief demonized a very good and decent man. A stupid ignorant electorate that is motivated primarily by its emotions does not vote rationally. The socialists know this, use it, and count on it.

farsighted on September 24, 2013 at 12:34 PM

The NSA scandal was no squirrel.

This is why the GOP must dump the neo-cons, or at least dump the ones who have an obsession with the Middle East.

Also conservatives and libertarians have the realize they can’t just cut all the social programs off they don’t like and force the people to go cold turkey. That just won’t happen. Pick out a couple of the more annoying ones, like ObamaCare, the EPA, and divide and conquer. Heck even Reagan did that. Give the people a choice, do they want to keep Social Security or the EPA, do they want Medicare or ObamaCare, do they want strong military or do they want a strong IRS…

The people are addicted to social programs, but like drugs they each have their different likes and dislikes. A drug addict of Social Security would easily throw ObamaCare, the EPA, and the IRS as long as they got to keep their drug of choice.

William Eaton on September 24, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Thanks as always for the page views, Midas.

Allahpundit on September 24, 2013 at 12:00 PM

You didn’t have to tell us that page views trump everything else for ya AP, we knew that already.

Midas on September 24, 2013 at 12:37 PM

As someone on Twitter said yesterday: If only there was a political party of some kind that could capitalize on this

That would be Cuffy.

clearbluesky on September 24, 2013 at 12:40 PM

But we still don’t want them to defund Obamacare if it means shutting them down. What a bunch of maroons.

tommy-t on September 24, 2013 at 12:42 PM

You didn’t have to tell us that page views trump everything else for ya AP, we knew that already.

If page views trumped everything, I’d do nothing but tell people like you exactly what they want to hear at all times. That’s where the traffic is in partisan media. The reason I mention page views is because you obviously dislike me, and maybe the site in general. In which case, why read it?

Allahpundit on September 24, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Great Job, Obama – you’ve attained another Presidential Milestone!

Another Drew on September 24, 2013 at 12:52 PM

God damnit Independents are morons.

Democrats I understand – they merely want to use the government to take things from some people and give it to themselves. At least they’re honest about their fascism.

Independents are just stupid people that believe whatever ad comes on during their nightly viewing of the Kardashian reality show.

ramesees on September 24, 2013 at 11:57 AM

I’m an Independent.

MichaelGabriel on September 24, 2013 at 12:55 PM

God damnit Independents are morons.

Democrats I understand – they merely want to use the government to take things from some people and give it to themselves. At least they’re honest about their fascism.

Independents are just stupid people that believe whatever ad comes on during their nightly viewing of the Kardashian reality show.

ramesees on September 24, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Independents are moving further to the right as conservatives, like myself, become disillusioned with the Republican party and leave in droves.

The rightward shift is not due to people changing their opinions, it is because of changing demographics.

The result of conservatives leaving the GOP is a more conservative independent base and a more liberal Republican Party. Republicans don’t have to pander to the conservative base as much any more because the conservative base is leaving the party and registering Independent or Libertarian, and conservatives have been leaving the party because Republicans have not been willing to move to the right on important issues. Chicken and the egg.

weaselyone on September 24, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Yet a whole lot of them voted for Obama. What the hell did they expect?

MPan on September 24, 2013 at 1:35 PM

“Gallup: Number of Americans who think federal government has too much power reaches record level”
…BUT – these same nitwits, fools, morons and jerks DO NOT WANT THE BLOATED GOVERNMENT MONSTER to be shut down !!!!!

America is lost.

TeaPartyNation on September 24, 2013 at 2:52 PM

If this polling really is true, why does the electorate keep on electing and re-electing politicians who keep expanding the size, scope, and power of the federal government?… because most politicians look out for themselves and they pander (and lie) to people, in one way or another, to get elected and re-elected. Even people who allegedly hold the view that the federal government has too much power can be bought off or deceived. And they are.

Or they are frightened by “the other guy” who is running. That is how Comrade O got himself re-elected. In the dirtiest sleaziest campaign in modern history our socialist Liar-In-Chief demonized a very good and decent man. A stupid ignorant electorate that is motivated primarily by its emotions does not vote rationally. The socialists know this, use it, and count on it.

farsighted on September 24, 2013 at 12:34 PM

No one can vote for their own best interests, or the best interest of the country as a whole, if they are lied to and deprived of information, which is the MO of the politicians and the media.
Politicians lie repeatedly, but the public is not told.

Which is why the alternative media is so important, and why its readers need to be willing to call out the liars within their own factions and on their own sites when they find them, as well as those whom they oppose.

AesopFan on September 24, 2013 at 8:19 PM