Does Government Have Too Much Power? It Depends On Whose Ox Is Being Gored.

Gallop has done an interesting poll recently on the question of whether the government has too much power. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by the results; yet I am disturbed by what the results tell us about the American electorate. (Hat Tip due Bruce McQuain at Questions and Observations.)

As you would expect, the number of Americans who believe the federal government has too much power is growing.

Trend: Americans' Perceptions of Governmental Power

I find it interesting that it has only been since 2005 that a majority of Americans showed concern for the power of the government and then only by a few percentage points until this latest poll when the number jumped to 60%. But, where it really gets interesting is when the results are shown by political viewpoint.

Do you think the federal government today -- [ROTATED: has too much power, has about the right amount of power, or has too little power]? Views by party

Looking at the left side of the above graph (Bush years), we see that more Democrats and Independents thought government had too much power than Republicans did. Thee gap is about 10 percentage points. But, when we get into the Obama years, it is the Republicans and the Independents that think government has too much power, while the Democrats are not so concerned. so, it does matter whose Ox is being gored. But, look at the gap. It’s over 40% between Republicans and Democrats and nearly 30 percentage points difference between Independents and Democrats. Yet, in spite of the huge gap, Obama was reelected in 2012. You will have to decide for yourself why that happened. My opinion is that many Republicans and Independents have such a low opinion of politicians that they just stayed home and didn’t vote. I blame the Good Old Pissants (GOP).

Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

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15 thoughts on “Does Government Have Too Much Power? It Depends On Whose Ox Is Being Gored.

  1. You’re absolutely right about the Republicans and Independents staying home. When the choice is a socialist or a liberal Republican that doesn’t exactly bring out the conservative base. I think that’s stupid, but it’s the way people are. And speaking of stupid, how about the high percentage of Democrats who think the government doesn’t have enough power. What possible things do they think the government should control that they don’t already?

  2. Clearly it was because conservatives sat it out. I guess the idea was to let the country see what they had bought. I guess we’ve seen what we bought. If the GOP tries to run Christie or another “soft liberal” they will have an even greater sit-out. That’s for the presidency. I expect big problems in the Congressional races, where I for one will be looking for people like Ted Cruz (and yes, even like Marco Rubio although I disagreed with his stance on immigration).

  3. What people think about the power of government is a separate question from whether or not government actually has to much power. They are two different things.

    Chart 1:
    That being said, it is interesting that the number of folks thinking government has to little power is rock solid steady at around 6-8% since ’03.Who could possibly think we need more government?

    Its also interesting that the switch to thinking government has to much power came about the time the “D”s started rising in power around ’06. There is a clear that now folks think Obama has been on a power grab in his 2nd term.

    Chart 2:
    It is interesting in that it it shows how polarized this nation became during the ’08 election. But now, everyone seems to trending – even Democrats – toward believing that Obama is grabbing to much power.

  4. The government starting over-reaching about 100 years ago starting Teddy Roosevelt and it went into hyper-drive with FDR’s “great society”. With every new entitlement program, American citizens are “entitling” the government to control more and more of our lives and take more and more of our money to do so. We are paying through the nose for the government to rule our lives. Yes, it’s gotten much worse with Obama in office and Obamacare? Your health, your lifestyle choices are no longer your private business. Why can’t most Democrats understand the freedoms they are surrendering? It is unfathomable to me. I think most of them must be transplants from an alien planet because I do not understand their way of thinking at all.

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