- The Washington Times - Monday, September 21, 2015

Almost half of Americans say the federal government poses an immediate threat to citizens’ rights and freedoms, according to results from a poll released Monday that show an upward trend over the past decade of the percentage of Americans who see the government as a threat.

Forty-nine percent of Americans said the federal government poses “an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens,” according to the Gallup survey, which is up from 46 percent in 2013 and equal to the percentage who said so in 2011.

Those numbers are up from 37 percent in 2005 and 30 percent in 2003, according to Gallup.

Gallup’s Frank Newport wrote that Democrats were more likely than Republicans to say the federal government posed an immediate threat than Republicans during the George W. Bush administration. Since President Obama was sworn in, the trend has flipped, with the percentage of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents who now say government is a more than doubling the number of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who say so, 65 percent to 32 percent.

“[T]he fact that Democrats and Republicans have flipped in their probability of holding these views when the administration changed in 2009 shows that these attitudes reflect more of a response to the president and disagreement with his policies than a fundamental feeling about the federal government in general,” Mr. Newport wrote.

Asked an open-ended question about why they think the government is an immediate threat, 19 percent said government is too big in general/there are too many laws, 15 percent cited unspecified allegations that government violates people’s freedoms and civil liberties, and 12 percent cited gun control and supposed violations of the Second Amendment. Ten percent said there is too much government involvement in people’s private lives.

Other complaints dealt with alleged First Amendment violations, police/law enforcement violence/arrests, and government surveillance of people’s emails and phone records.

Results for the poll were based on interviews conducted from Sept. 9-13 with a random sample of 1,025 adults, and the margin of error for the poll was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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