The notion that the federal government is too big and too feisty appears to be entrenched in the public mindset. At the moment, 54 percent of Americans say the federal government today has too much power, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.
And behold the partisan divide: 76 percent of Republicans but only 32 percent of Democrats agree that the government has too much power. There is also growing uneasiness.
While tea partyers and other liberty-minded folk have been criticized in the recent past for fearing their rights could be imposed upon, the idea has taken hold of many Americans.
“Do you think the federal government poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens?” the Gallup pollsters asked. Forty-six percent of the respondents said yes; 60 percent of Republicans and 25 percent of Democrats agreed with that.
The fear appears to be growing: Just 30 percent felt that way in 2004, and the numbers have lingered above 45 percent for four years.
What most troubles the public? Gallup asked this question during an identical poll in 2010; respondents were uncomfortable with “the government having too many laws, being too involved in citizens lives, threatening freedom of speech, imposing health care laws, and being ‘socialist’ in general.”