One of Mr. Obama’s stated campaign goals was to make big government “cool” again. If the latest Gallup poll is to be believed, he and his administration have done precisely the opposite.
Almost half of Americans, 49%, say the federal government poses “an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens,” similar to what was found in previous surveys conducted over the last five years. When this question was first asked in 2003, less than a third of Americans held this attitude.
The reasons vary but the top four are telling:
Gallup does a bit of equivocating in its analysis, but finally makes a fairly obvious point about its results:
Still, the persistent finding in recent years that half of the population views the government as an immediate threat underscores the degree to which the role and power of government remains a key issue of our time. As a case in point, a question in this same survey asked Americans to name the most important problem facing the nation, and found that issues related to government were the most frequently mentioned. Plus, numerous other measures show that the people give their government some of the lowest approval and trust ratings in the measures’ history.
In the age of terror, citizens are finally waking up to what its cost in freedom has been. They’re finally beginning to notice that government has grown much more powerful, intrusive and costly. There seems to be more corruption and cronyism. They’ve also noticed it has become much less responsive and efficient. In fact, in many areas it is downright inefficient and broken. If you look at the top 4 reasons though, it’s the intrusiveness of government that has most people worried.
The survey deals with government as a perceived threat and it is clear, since 2003, that perception has grown by 19 points from 30% to 49%. That’s significant and, if I had to guess, will only go higher in the last part of the Obama administration.
The man who planned to make government “cool” again, as he has with so many of his other plans, has failed. In the long run, that’s a good thing.