Gallup has asked this question 43 times since 1992, and in the vast majority of those cases, Americans have tilted toward believing that government is doing too much. The percentage of Americans who want the government to do more has risen to 45% or higher only five times. These were in 1992 and 1993 as the country was focused on repairing the economy after the 1990-1991 recession; in October 2001, a month after the 9/11 attacks; and again today.
The uptick this year in the percentage who want government to be more active comes from slight increases in support for this from Republicans and independents; Democrats’ preference for this dipped slightly. Still, consistent with their party’s core philosophy, 74% of Republicans currently think government is doing too much that should be left to individuals and businesses; just 22% want it to do more. In contrast, 67% of Democrats think government should be doing more to solve the country’s problems, while 26% say more should be left to the private sector.