Poll: 60% of Americans say the government has too much power

The number of Americans who believe the federal government is too powerful has reached a record high, according to a poll released earlier this week by Gallup, though the historical numbers reflect partisan divisions depending on which party controls the White House.

The Gallup poll, conducted between September 5-8, found that 60% of American adults believe that the federal government is too powerful, surpassing the previous high recorded in September 2012, while 32% say that the government has about the right amount of power, which is a record low.

Just 7% of Americans believe that the federal government has too little power.

An eye-popping 81% of Republicans believe that the federal government has too much power. And though only 38% of Democrats agree with that view, that number is up from 28% just last year. Sixty-five percent (65%) of independents believe the government has too much power.

The Obama Administration has come under criticism from both Republicans and Democrats concerned about the erosion of civil liberties through the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, which collects Americans’ phone and Internet metadata even if they’re not suspected of a crime. The Internal Revenue Service’s politically motivated targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups has been heavily criticized by Republicans.

But the historical patterns show that Republicans (Bush 2003-2009) and Democrats (2009 to present) are less likely to think the federal government has too much power when their party has control of the White House, as you can see in the chart below.

Gallup poll shows falling trust in government

On the heels of several scandals — the IRS’s targeting of conservative organizations and massive spying through the NSA — and a failed push for an unnecessary war, a Gallup poll released on Friday showing that Americans’ trust in their government to handle domestic and foreign affairs is at a record low.

“Americans’ trust and confidence in the federal government’s ability to handle international problems has reached an all-time low, with 49% saying they have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence, two percentage points below the previous low of 51% recorded in 2007,” wrote Joy Wilke and Frank Newport of Gallup.

“Americans in the same survey also expressed historically low levels of confidence in the federal government’s ability to handle domestic problems, with 42% reporting a great deal or a fair amount of confidence,” they added. “This is one point below the previous low of 43% in 2011.”

 Domestic trust

The poll reflects partisan divides, depending on which party held control of the White House, with Democrats less likely to trust a Republican president and vice versa on both domestic and international issues.

There are other factors to take into account, as Gallup notes, including concerns over the economy and dissatisfaction with Congress. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that Americans are increasingly distrustful of their government, and for very good reason, given everything that has happened over the past several months and the implementation of an unpopular law (ObamaCare) that will impact virtually every American.

Gallup: Economy, jobs remain Americans’ top concerns

The economy and related economic issues remain at the top of Americans’ concerns, according to a poll released by Gallup on Friday.

Gallup asked 2,059 Americans over the age of 18 about the most important problems facing the United States. Unsurprisingly, 25% of Americans said the economy is the most pressing issue, followed by 19% of respondents who listed unemployment and jobs as their biggest concern. Seventeen percent (17%) said that dissatisfaction with government was the most important problem facing the nation.

President Barack Obama has tried to turn his attention back to the economy in recent weeks amid scandals that have come out of his administration and falling poll numbers. His approval rating on the economy fell to dismal 35%, according to a survey released last week by Gallup, and his overall approval rating is underwater, via Real Clear Politics, sits at 45/50.

Americans are not at all concerned about issues that President Obama has tried to push through Congress or unilateral executive action.

Obama’s approval rating on economy plummets

Americans are not at all thrilled with President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, according to a new Gallup poll.

Looking to change the narrative away from several scandals that have distracted his administration, President Barack Obama has tried to focus on the economy in recent weeks, beginning with a widely panned speech last month in Illinois, during which he used recycled themes from his 2012 campaign. But it appears that voters aren’t buying what they’re hearing from the White House.

The poll released yesterday by Gallup shows that 62% of Americans now disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the economy, despite his recent focus on the issue. Only 35% approve, down from 42% in June.

“Obama in turning to economic matters thus has his focus in the right place,” noted Gallup, “but until the economy makes more impressive gains, ultimately reflected in improved economic confidence, Americans may not reward him with higher approval.”

Poll: 43% of uninsured don’t know about ObamaCare’s individual mandate

individual mandate

One of the key components of ObamaCare is the individual mandate, a controversial requirement that all Americans purchase health insurance or face a punitive tax. This particular part of ObamaCare, which goes into effect at the beginning of the year, was focal point of the legal challenge that went all the way to the Supreme Court.

But a new Gallup poll shows that many uninsured Americans aren’t aware of the individual mandate, which may be an unwelcome surprise next year.

“The vast majority of Americans, 81%, say they are aware of the 2010 Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) requirement that most Americans must carry health insurance or pay a fine,” wrote Jeffrey Jones of Gallup. “Americans who are currently uninsured — those most directly affected by this requirement — are much less likely to be aware of the provision, with 56% saying they know about it and 43% saying they are unaware.”

The main reason uninsured Americans don’t have health coverage is, according to Gallup, predominately because the can’t afford it.

“Uninsured Americans are most likely to mention cost and affordability as the reason why they do not have health insurance. Forty-three percent cite this reason, not surprisingly given the dramatic increase in health insurance costs in the last 20 years,” noted Gallup, which conducted the poll between June 20-24. “Job considerations are also a major factor for the uninsured, with 24% saying they lack insurance because they are currently unemployed. Also, 8% are working but say their job does not offer health benefits, and another 2% lack health insurance because they are self-employed.”

NFL won’t help promote ObamaCare to fans


The Obama Administration has been making a big push as of late to promote ObamaCare in hopes to win over Americans amid reports of rising health insurance premiums, implementation problems, and employers’ worries law’s cost to their businesses.

Part of the plan orchestrated by the Department of Health and Human Services included working with sports leagues, including the NBA and NFL, which would allow them to reach millions of fans. But they were dealt a big blow last week when the NFL rejected any partnership to promote the controversial law.

The Washington Post reported on Friday that a NFL spokesman told the paper that the league “currently [has] no plans to engage in this area and have had no substantive contact with the administration about [ObamaCare’s] implementation.”

The response comes after Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and John Cornyn (R-TX) wrote to various sports leagues to express concern about their getting involved in “one of the most divisive and polarizing political issues of our day.”

Poll: 57% of Americans oppose Internet sales tax

The so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act,” the Internet sales tax proposal that has already passed the Senate and is currently stalled in the House, isn’t all that popular among Americans.

According to a new poll from Gallup, 57% of Americans oppose the Internet sales. The strongest resistance to the tax comes from adults under between under the age of 29.

“Americans, by 57% to 39%, say they would vote against a law that would allow each state to collect sales taxes on purchases its residents make online over the Internet,” noted Gallup, which conducted the poll between June 15-16. “Young adults voice the most widespread opposition to such a law.”

The proposal, which is being pushed by traditional retailers, would allow state governments to collect taxes from online retailers, even if they don’t have a physical precense within its borders. If passed, the the Marketplace Fairness Act would turn Internet retailers into a tax collecting agents for 45 states and the District of Columbia and more than 9,600 taxing jurisdictions.

“[T]hat’s 46 returns (45 states with sales taxes plus the District of Columbia), which have to be filed monthly or quarterly, and 46 potential audits every year,” wrote Jacob Sullum last month at Reason, “not to mention all the misunderstandings, disputes, and hassles that fall short of an audit.”

Poll: Americans’ declining faith in traditional media


The Internet age has not been kind to traditional news outlets. Each day, more Americans are turning to online sources — including blogs and social media sites — to catch up on the news and issues of that are important to them.

That waning influence has led to a decline in confidence among Americans, according to a Gallup poll released on Monday.

“Americans’ confidence in newspapers fell slightly to 23% this year, from 25% in 2012 and 28% in 2011,” reported Gallup. “The percentage of Americans saying they have ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a lot’ of confidence in newspapers has been generally trending downward since 1979, when it reached a high of 51%.”

Television news did see slight uptick in its numbers, with 23% expressing confidence in it. That’s up from 21% in 2012. But that’s a significant decline from 20 years ago, Gallup notes, when 46% of Americans expressed confidence in television news.

The poll, which was conducted between June 1-4, measured the also measured traditional media outlets against other “societal institutions.” Americans expressed the most confidence in the military (76%), small business (65%), and the police (57%). At 23% newspapers and television news were stuck between banks (26%) and big business (22%). The only institutions viewed worse than the media are organized labor (20%), HMOs (19%), and the United States Congress (10%).

Americans Not Happy about NSA Snooping

NSA secrets

It seems that Americans have finally awakened to the abuses of their civil liberties. Two new polls show that a solid majority of the public isn’t happy about revelations that the National Security Agency has been collecting their phone data for datamining purposes (emphasis mine):

At first blush, it seemed, most Americans haven’t gotten too exercised about the revelation that the National Security Agency has been secretly tracking everyone’s phone data, in the name of protecting national security.

That was the take-away from a Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll released Tuesday. But two new polls out Wednesday – one by Gallup, another by YouGov taken for The Economist – paint a difference picture. Both find that a majority of Americans disapprove of the NSA data-mining programs.

In the Gallup poll, conducted June 10 and 11, 53 percent of Americans disapprove of the programs, while 37 percent approve. YouGov found that 59 percent disapprove of the programs, and only 35 percent approve.

Americans are also skeptical that the snooping is doing much good. Per YouGov, only 35 percent say it’s likely the information has prevented a terror attack, while 54 percent doubt it has. And while President Obama insists that “nobody is listening to your phone calls,” it turns out only 17 percent of Americans think that’s true, according to the YouGov poll, taken June 8 to 10.

Gallup: Majority Says Government Too Powerful

Throughout the course of his presidency, Barack Obama has been making the case for more government involvement in the lives of Americans. But the recent scandals that have become frontpage news have gone right to the heart of President Obama’s message. And they seem to have caught the eye of Americans.

According to Gallup, 54% of Americans believe the government has too much power. That’s up from 51% just last year, but down from the high of 59% in late 2010, just before the mid-term elections:

 Majority Says Government Too Powerful

The case against a big government was perhaps best made by David Axelrod as he was trying to defend President Obama, to whom he served as an advisor. “[W]e have a large government,” he claimed as he made a case for President Obama’s lack of knowledge about the IRS scandal.

It’s been said that the conservative and libertarian case against big government often falls on deaf ears because Americans don’t know what it means and we, as limited government advocates, cannot properly relay it. But the IRS scandal is the one, as Chris Matthews recently explained, is the one that can resonate with voters because it hits so close to home.

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