Americans Revert to Favoring Reduced Government Role

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  gregtx  •  2 months ago  •  35 comments

By:   Jeffrey M. Jones (Gallup. com)

Americans Revert to Favoring Reduced Government Role
Americans once again say the government is doing too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Story Highlights

  • 52% say government doing too many things
  • Last year, majority favored active government role
  • Half prefer lower taxes and fewer government services

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans have shifted back to favoring a more hands-off approach for government in addressing the nation's problems after a rare endorsement of a more active role last year. Currently, 52% say the government is doing too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses, while 43% want the government to do more to solve the country's problems. In contrast, a record-high 54% of U.S. adults last year said the government should do more to solve problems.

Line graph. Trend in Americans' preference for government activity. Fifty-two percent of U.S. adults say the government is doing too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses while 43% say the government should do more to solve the country's problems. Last year, opinions were reversed, but the current figures are in line with what Gallup has typically measured since 1992.

Gallup's question on the proper government role is asked as part of its annual Governance survey, conducted Sept. 1-17 this year. The shift toward favoring a more active government role in 2020 was seen among Democrats and independents but not Republicans -- likely a response to the coronavirus pandemic and in particular to then-President Donald Trump's approach to handling it. Trump generally opposed government efforts designed to slow the spread of the virus, such as face mask requirements and business and school closures.

Last year marked only the second time in Gallup's 29-year trend that at least half of Americans endorsed an active role for the government on this item. The other pro-government response came in the weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks amid heightened concern about terrorism and a surge in trust in government.

All party groups are less likely now than a year ago to favor a more active government role, but independents' opinions have changed the most. In 2020, 56% of independents wanted the government to do more to solve problems, compared with 38% now. Independents are even less inclined to want a more active government role today than they were in 2019 before the pandemic began, when 45% held that view. The same is true of Republicans, whose opinions did not show meaningful change last year.

Preference for Government Activity to Solve Nation's Problems, by Political Party, 2019-2021

2019 2020 2021 Change, 2020-2021
% % % pct. pts.
Republicans
Trying to do too many things 72 74 80 +6
Should be doing more 24 22 15 -7
Independents
Trying to do too many things 51 38 57 +19
Should be doing more 45 56 38 -18
Democrats
Trying to do too many things 27 13 18 +5
Should be doing more 70 83 78 -5
Gallup

Public Prefers Lower Taxes, Fewer Government Services

Americans' preference for a limited government role is also evident when they are asked to consider the trade-offs between taxes and government services. Given a choice, half of Americans say they prefer fewer government services and lower taxes, while 19% want higher taxes and more services. Twenty-nine percent want taxes and services as they are now.

In the five times Gallup has asked this question since 1993, the preference for lower taxes and fewer services has consistently prevailed, held either by pluralities or majorities of Americans, including a high of 56% in 2011. Only as many as 25%, in 2019, have said they wanted higher taxes and more services.

Line graph. Americans' preferences for government services and taxes. Fifty percent of Americans would rather have less government services in order to reduce taxes, up from 42% in 2019. In 2011, a high of 56% held this view. Nineteen percent of Americans say they want more services and more taxes, down from 25% in 2019, the previous high. Twenty-nine percent prefer that services and taxes be about the same as now.

Gallup did not ask this "taxes versus government services" question last year, so it is not possible to know how opinions on the issue might have changed in a year when Americans said they wanted government to do more to solve the nation's problems.

Currently, 77% of Republicans prefer fewer services and lower taxes, while 15% want no change and 7% prefer higher taxes and more services. Half of independents prefer lower taxes and fewer services, while 33% want to keep taxes and services where they are now and 16% want increases in both.

Democrats are mostly split between wanting more services and more taxes (37%) and keeping taxes and services where they are now (40%). Nineteen percent of Democrats prefer lower taxes and fewer services.

Majority Continues to Say Government Has Too Much Power

Consistent with their preferences for lower taxes and fewer services and their belief that the government is doing too many things, 54% say the federal government has too much power. This is essentially unchanged from 56% the last time the question was asked in 2019.

At least half of Americans since 2005 have said that the government has too much power, peaking at 60% in 2013 and 2015. From 2002 through 2004, in the first few years after 9/11, more Americans believed the federal government had about the right amount of power than believed it had too much. Relatively few Americans have ever said the government has too little power.

Line graph. Americans' perceptions of federal government power. Fifty-four percent of U.S. adults say the federal government has too much power, 36% say it has about the right amount, and 9% say it has too little. Majorities have typically said the government has too much power, including a high of 60% in 2013 and 2015. From 2002 through 2004, however, more said the government had the right amount of power than said it had too much.

Eighty-two percent of Republicans, 59% of independents and 19% of Democrats say the government has too much power. Most Democrats, 63%, say the government has the right amount of power.

Although Americans' opinions about federal government power are essentially unchanged since 2019, partisans' views have changed as the presidency switched from Republican Trump to Democrat Joe Biden. Two years ago, the party differences were much smaller than they are today, with 61% of Republicans, 57% of independents and 51% of Democrats saying the government had too much power.

Americans More Inclined to Say Government Regulating Business Too Much

Forty-three percent of Americans say there is too much government regulation of business and industry, while 25% say there is too little and 30% the right amount. Over the past year, the percentage perceiving too much regulation has increased seven percentage points (from 36% in 2020) while there has been a six-point decline in those seeing regulation as about right.

This shift is consistent with the last time the presidency changed from Republican to Democratic control. Spanning the transition from Republican George W. Bush to Democrat Barack Obama between 2008 and 2009, the percentage saying there was too much government regulation also increased seven points, from 38% to 45%.

Opinions moved in the other direction after the White House transitioned from Obama to Trump, though the change was not evident until Trump's second year in office in 2018. In 2016, 47% of U.S. adults thought the government regulated business too much, compared with 45% in 2017 and 39% in 2018.

Line graph. Trend in Americans' opinions of whether there is too much, too little or the right amount of government regulation of business. Typically Americans are most inclined to say there is too much government regulation. The percentage saying there is too much regulation has been higher in Democratic presidential administration than Republican administrations, including a high of 50% in 2011. Americans are usually least likely to say there is too little regulation of business, including a low of 17% in 2001.

Republicans, and to a lesser extent, independents, have become increasingly likely over the past year to say there is too much regulation of business and less likely to say there is the right amount of it. Seventy-two percent of Republicans and 43% of independents now say there is too much regulation. The remainder of independents divide evenly between saying there is the right amount or too little regulation.

More Democrats than last year (45% vs. 31%) say there is the right amount of regulation. That 14-point increase has mainly been offset by a 10-point decline in the percentage saying there is too little regulation. Overall, Democrats divide about evenly between saying there is too little or the right amount of regulation, with relatively few, 11%, saying there is too much.

Perceptions of the Amount of Government Regulation of Business, by Political Party, 2020-2021

2020 2021 Change, 2020-2021
% % pct. pts.
Republicans
Too much 60 72 +12
Too little 3 6 +3
Right amount 36 20 -16
Independents
Too much 35 43 +8
Too little 25 28 +3
Right amount 39 27 -12
Democrats
Too much 16 11 -5
Too little 52 42 -10
Right amount 31 45 +14
Gallup

Bottom Line

More Americans typically prefer a limited government role to an active one, think there is too much rather than too little regulation of business and believe the government is too powerful. The COVID-19 situation and the Trump administration's response to it in 2020 may have briefly changed Americans' views on the proper government role, but whatever effect it had has now disappeared. That could reflect changing government policy on the issue as Biden has been more assertive in using government power to take steps to mitigate the spread of the disease than Trump did. For example, Biden has imposed face mask and vaccine mandates for situations in which his administration believes the federal government has the authority to do so. Those steps have been controversial, and the controversy might have swayed some people -- particularly independents -- into thinking such a strong government response is not ideal.

But the reversal in opinions on government activity also may simply reflect a return to normal attitudes, similar to what occurred after 9/11 when Americans at least briefly advocated for a more active government role to deal with a national challenge, before reverting to favoring a more limited approach.

To stay up to date with the latest Gallup News insights and updates,follow us on Twitter.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

View complete question responses and trends (PDF download).


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GregTx
Sophomore Participates
1  seeder  GregTx    2 months ago
Last year marked only the second time in Gallup's 29-year trend that at least half of Americans endorsed an active role for the government on this item. The other pro-government response came in the weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks amid heightened concern about terrorism and a surge in trust in government.

Interesting read. IMO

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
 
 
dennis smith
Masters Silent
1.1.1  dennis smith  replied to  XXJefferson51 @1.1    2 months ago

The absolute truth. 

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
2  XXJefferson51    2 months ago

This shows that if democrats fly in the face of this and try to impose big government solutions to a whole series of issues covered in their reconciliation bill they will face a shellacking at the polls next year just like 2010 and 1994.  

 
 
 
dennis smith
Masters Silent
2.1  dennis smith  replied to  XXJefferson51 @2    2 months ago

Dems have shown they have no common ground with each other. They are fracturing their party and don't give a shit.   

 
 
 
Greg Jones
PhD Expert
3  Greg Jones    2 months ago

Under the Democrat way of government, everything have gotten much worse

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
3.1  JBB  replied to  Greg Jones @3    2 months ago

Really? Have you checked out the stock exchange?

America is turning the corner post Covid and for most Americans things are looking up. Only in the delusional dystopia of fetid rightwing dreams are Americans demonstrably worse off than they were on January 20th. So go rend your clothes and gnash your teeth, because it makes you guys seem krazy.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.1.1  Texan1211  replied to  JBB @3.1    2 months ago
Have you checked out the stock exchange?

is this the same one you claimed was up 20%????????????????????

LOL!

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.1.2  Texan1211  replied to  JBB @3.1    2 months ago
America is turning the corner post Covid and for most Americans things are looking up

Yes, for rich Democrats, I am sure they are doing just fine.

BTFW, ever heard of inflation?

Heard of any supply-line problems?????????

Seen fast-rising prices for food, gas, clothing lately like the vast majority of Americans have??????

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
3.1.3  XXJefferson51  replied to  JBB @3.1    2 months ago

Those of us on a budget that is impacted by rising gas and food prices are worse off now.  That it will be hard to buy for Christmas and much more expensive to heat our homes won’t help either. But supply chains and inflation are only a high class problem…

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
3.1.4  Jack_TX  replied to  Texan1211 @3.1.2    2 months ago
Yes, for rich Democrats, I am sure they are doing just fine.

To be fair, rich Republicans also.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.1.5  Texan1211  replied to  Jack_TX @3.1.4    2 months ago

Yes, of course that is true.

I only pointed out Democrats because I don't see any Republicans dumb enough to think that everything is just fine with the problems we are now facing.

Some of which Democrats won't even acknowledge the existence of.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
3.1.6  JBB  replied to  Texan1211 @3.1.1    2 months ago

I am sorry that you and XX are so poor. Most Americans are better off already with Biden...

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.1.7  Texan1211  replied to  JBB @3.1.6    2 months ago
I am sorry that you and XX are so poor.

I'm not poor, I am a workingman.

Most Americans are better off already with Biden...

Laughable nonsense, of course. But I can see where you might believe it, because you think the DJIA is up 20% since Biden took office, so I will weigh  your opinion about what most Americans' financial situation is against what we have proven to be false about what you are willing to believe without evidence.

 
 
 
Ronin2
PhD Quiet
3.1.8  Ronin2  replied to  JBB @3.1    2 months ago
Really? Have you checked out the stock exchange?

The stock exchange is the last thing to reflect reality. 

Right now it is overjoyed that the military industrial complex has a massive new contract to supply subs to Australia. Taiwan is also on board with another massive contract for military arms. China is scaring the shit out of Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines- so can they be far behind? Everything is going great if and only if China doesn't decide to just take Taiwan. Biden is unwilling to do anything to stop them; and the whole damn world knows it. Know what Taiwan is the leading producer of? Super and semi conductors. What is the US in exceedingly short supply of? Super and Semi conductors. What happens to the US economy if China grabs the means of production? The US economy goes in the crapper and what happens to the stock market you are so damn proud of?

America is turning the corner post Covid and for most Americans things are looking up.

Really. The infection rate is up and the number of deaths are up under the Biden Administration. The world's single largest super spreader event is occurring on our southern border with no damn end in sight. Nothing indicating that the US is "turning the corner" on Covid.

Only in the delusional dystopia of fetid rightwing dreams are Americans demonstrably worse off than they were on January 20th.

Ask any US business if they are better off under Biden. Only the Democrats could have high unemployment numbers with millions of jobs needing to be filled. Guess paying people not to work through endless unemployment, rent moratorium, and continuous stimulus checks isn't good for convincing people to return to work. On the bright side; Biden's vaccine mandate is forcing millions of able bodied workers out of the work force. That will do wonders for those unemployment numbers; and jobs needing to be filled. Chicago has 1000 plus police officers ready to walk off the job- think that they have replacements ready for them? How about all of those doctors, nurses, and EMP's ready to walk out in NY? Guess many of those anti-vaxxers that Democrats like to disparage actually work, and work in very hard to fill critical positions. Wonder how many of those they are paying to sit on their asses at home are qualified to come in and fill those critical positions on the spot? Now would not be a good time to get sick or injured; or be in need of the police. I am sure criminals are looking forward to the officer decline.

What is Biden doing to rescue the remaining US citizens that they abandoned in Afghanistan? Does he even remember where the hell Afghanistan is? Private charities have done the work of rescuing US citizens, green card holders, special VISA holders and their families. All the Biden State Department has done is make their lives more difficult by requiring any planes carrying them to land in a third party country first; and remain there until the Biden administration deems fit. Imagine that, the US rejecting US citizens and forcing them to lay over in another country. Why don't you ask them and those that are still trapped in Afghanistan if their lives are better under Biden? If only Biden had vetted those Afghan evacuees as well that managed to make it into the Kabul airport; and were simply put on planes out no questions asked.

The State Department refused to approve privately chartered flights carrying American citizens and Afghan allies departing out of Afghanistan  — obstructing ongoing evacuation efforts to rescue the countless Americans abandoned by President Biden’s broken promise , according to a leaked email obtained by Fox News .

Eric Montalvo, a military lawyer and former U.S Marine organized a series of private flights to get the evacuees safely out of Afghanistan, but the State Department is solely hampering the ongoing rescue efforts with bureaucratic roadblocks by refusing to formally approve chartered planes from leaving the Taliban-controlled country. The revelation is a stark contrast to Biden’s pledge to continue rescuing all Americans and as many Afghan allies after  fully withdrawing U.S. troops out of Afghanistan in a hastily chaotic manner before Biden’s self-imposed deadline of August 31.

The bombshell leaked email dated Sept. 1 sent to Montalvo revealed the inexplicable delays from the State Department after the official explicitly stated that private charter flights, even if those on board the flights contained stranded American citizens and Afghan allies, would not be allowed to land at military bases, making different excuses such as lacking ground resources to fully verify flight manifests.

“No independent charters are allowed to land at [Al Udeid Air Base], the military airbase you mentioned in your communication with Samantha Power. In fact, no charters are allowed to land at a [sic] DoD base, and most if not all countries in the Middle Eastern region, with the exception of perhaps Saudi Arabia, will allow charters to land,” the State Department official wrote.

The official in the email informed Montalvo to look to a different “destination country” for his organized private charters to land but warned not to look to the United States military bases as being one of the other options.

Despite the Biden State Department recklessly endangering the evacuations efforts by not granting an official approval needed to get evacuees that were left behind safely out of Afghanistan, the official vowed they would not obstruct with the clearance that was secured without the U.S. government help for the flights to land in the destination country.

“Once you have had discussions with the host/destination country and reached an agreement, they may require some indication from the USG [US government] that we ‘approve’ of this charter flight. DOS [State Department] will not provide an approval, but we will provide a ‘no objection’ to the destination country government via the U.S. Embassy in that country,” the email from the state official read.

Since the final U.S. military flights departed Kabul’s International airport, just 24 hours after Biden abruptly ended the chaotic evacuation efforts from Afghanistan on Aug. 30, Veteran-led rescue groups, private citizen organizers, and non-governmental organizations have scrambled to organize private charters flights out of Taliban-controlled territory for the thousands of allies and Americans left behind.

Last week, the  New York Times  reported that Montalvo’s law firm — Federal Practice Group, had privately chartered a flight with 300 people from Afghanistan and landed in Doha, Qatar, on Aug. 31. The private flight reportedly caused dismay among diplomatic personnel and the State Department over “concerns” that they did not “facilitated landing rights” for the chartered plane orchestrated by private individuals because “it didn’t have ‘status.'”

The Aug. 31 efforts led to the State Department impeding future rescue flights coordinated by Montalvo and other private individuals, despite the Biden administration officials’ denying the accusation as they look to place the blame on others. The story from the Biden administration changes daily — from blaming incorrect travel documentation to security risks, aviation security protocols, and now claiming it is actually the Taliban who are holding back charter planes from departing.

Do you feel safer now the Taliban is in charge in Afghanistan? How about the Taliban willingly allowing Al Qaeda, ISIS/ISIL, and ISIS-K to operate in Afghanistan again? Think the US is at risk from a terrorist attack? The US government sure as hell thinks so.

Others have already mentioned the high inflation; and increasing costs of gas/oil. We can also throw in increased violent crime rates across the US; but especially in those large Democratic bastions of stupidity with their "defund the police" movements. 

So go rend your clothes and gnash your teeth, because it makes you guys seem krazy.

So pull your head out of Biden's rectum; and take a look at the real damn world for a change. Things are not going well; and they are only going to get worse so long as the Democrats are in charge.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
3.1.9  JBB  replied to  Ronin2 @3.1.8    2 months ago

That is all a bunch of hysterical nonsense...

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
3.1.10  JBB  replied to  Texan1211 @3.1.7    2 months ago

Butt, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was only at 26,501 on November 2nd 2020...

What percentage does that make it up now?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.11  JohnRussell  replied to  Ronin2 @3.1.8    2 months ago

The right just whines and whines and whines and whines and whines.

Was the stock market disconnected from reality when Trump was president and bragging about it every couple days ? 

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.1.12  Texan1211  replied to  JBB @3.1.10    2 months ago
Butt,

the word to use in this case is BUT.

A butt is an ass.

the Dow Jones Industrial Average was only at 26,501 on November 2nd 2020...

Your claim was that it was up 20% since Biden took office. You were wrong. And I proved it to you, whether you admit it or not.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
3.1.13  JBB  replied to  Texan1211 @3.1.12    2 months ago

Any way you figure it Biden is a big success...

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.1.14  Texan1211  replied to  JBB @3.1.13    2 months ago
Any way you figure it Biden is a big success...

Well, I am sure that many illegal aliens agree with that, as do the thousands of immigrants released into the US.

BTW, have you looked at any polls lately?

The majority of Americans disagree with your assessment.

Maybe they are tired of the rhetoric about raising taxes and spending massive amounts of money we don't have while paying higher prices for most things.

Can you describe any of Biden's "success" at passing infrastructure bills?

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Senior Participates
3.1.15  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  JBB @3.1.6    2 months ago
Most Americans are better off already with Biden.

I didn't know it was joke week!!!!!

 
 
 
Ronin2
PhD Quiet
3.1.16  Ronin2  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.11    2 months ago

The left just denies, denies, and denies.

Where is your proof John? I linked mine.

Did Trump have high gas prices and inflation? Did Trump abandon US citizens in Afghanistan and allow terrorist factions to take over the country and put the US at risk? Did Trump have high unemployment and yet have millions of jobs that needed to be filled? Did Trump have a wide open southern border will millions of illegals streaming across it during a pandemic? Was China doing daily flyovers of Taiwan? Did Trump enable Russia to complete their Black Sea pipeline which will cut out all of the former Soviet border states from oil profits? Did Trump have move Covid 19 deaths and a higher infection rate than Biden? 

You put the human fuck up machine in the WH; and backed him with an even bigger fuck up in Harris. As normal the left take no responsibilities for their mistakes.

 
 
 
Ronin2
PhD Quiet
3.1.17  Ronin2  replied to  JBB @3.1.9    2 months ago

Where is your proof? I posted links backing up mine- including from left leaning web sites. Show yours disproving it.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.18  JohnRussell  replied to  Ronin2 @3.1.16    2 months ago

I dont engage with hysterical people. 

You said the stock market doesnt reflect reality. Then why did Trump brag about stock market gains dozens of times during his presidency? 

 
 
 
dennis smith
Masters Silent
3.1.19  dennis smith  replied to  Texan1211 @3.1.2    2 months ago

The Dem supporters are in in denial as usual. 

 
 
 
dennis smith
Masters Silent
3.1.20  dennis smith  replied to  Ronin2 @3.1.8    2 months ago

Supplying facts to Dems is like to talking to a rock.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
3.1.21  Jack_TX  replied to  JBB @3.1.10    2 months ago
Butt, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was only at 26,501 on November 2nd 2020... What percentage does that make it up now?

Oooh.  I know, pick me.....

In fact, the Dow closed at 28,323.40 on Nov 2, 2020.

It closed today at 35,258.61.

That's a 24.49% increase.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
3.1.22  Jack_TX  replied to  Texan1211 @3.1.12    2 months ago
Your claim was that it was up 20% since Biden took office. You were wrong. 

This is also correct.

The Dow is up about 13.75% since Biden took office.

 
 
 
XXJefferson51
Senior Guide
3.1.23  XXJefferson51  replied to  Jack_TX @3.1.21    2 months ago

Back in 2017 democrats here credited Obama with stock market numbers from November 8 2016 to Jan 19, 2917 when discussing the economy. So, now Nov 4,2020 to Jan 19, 2021 belong to Trumps term.  

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.1.24  Texan1211  replied to  XXJefferson51 @3.1.23    2 months ago

What strikes me as odd is that many who tout stock market numbers under Biden will be bitching next week that companies made too much money.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
3.1.25  Jack_TX  replied to  Texan1211 @3.1.24    2 months ago
What strikes me as odd is that many who tout stock market numbers under Biden will be bitching next week that companies made too much money.

Next week?  I think he's moved that forward by about 6 months.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.1.26  Texan1211  replied to  Jack_TX @3.1.25    2 months ago

Oh, the spin will be they make too much money, because they need them to make enough money to pay enough taxes for their social spending experiments.

You can't chant that they don't pay their fair share if they aren't making money!

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
3.1.27  Jack_TX  replied to  Texan1211 @3.1.26    2 months ago
You can't chant that they don't pay their fair share if they aren't making money!

Indeed that would reflect abject ignorance of both basic math and tax law.

So it's inevitable.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.1.28  Texan1211  replied to  Jack_TX @3.1.27    2 months ago
So it's inevitable.

jrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gif

But damn, I wish it weren't so!

 
 
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