Nearly 70% of Americans say big government is top problem for nation - poll

© Chip East
A Gallup poll found that nearly 70 percent of Americans think big government is the country’s top problem. The poll results were released just days after President Obama signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill.

While 69 percent of the 824 Americans polled identified government as the biggest threat, 25 percent saw big business as the largest problem for the country and 6 percent were most concerned about big labor.

Gallup said the anti-government sentiment is down from 72 percent in 2013, the last time they asked the question, but it is “still one of the highest percentages choosing big government in the Gallup’s 50-year trend.”

[Concerns] about business and labor have drifted down while concerns about big government have climbed back up to nearly 70%. The largest increase in the percentage naming big government as the biggest threat in 2013 may have resulted from the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and Edward Snowden’s revelations about government monitoring of communications,” wrote Gallup.

Americans named government as one of three most important problems facing the country, including terrorism and the economy. Another Gallup poll found in September that 75 percent of Americans cited government corruption as a reason for distrust and disaffection with government, particularly in the light of IRS, Secret Service and Veterans Administration scandals.

When questioned along political affiliation, nine out of 10 Republicans, or 88 percent, said big government is the biggest threat, far exceeding 67 percent of independents and 53 percent of Democrats who said the same.

Those polled were not asked which branch of the government or who specifically in power caused the “dissatisfaction.” The poll, therefore, points to American exasperation with both President Obama and both chambers of Congress.

Shrinking big government is a phrase often touted by Republicans, especially during political campaigns, even when the government is Republican-led as it was under the George W. Bush administration.

In another Gallup poll in September, 49 percent of Americans said the federal government posed “an immediate threat to the rights of freedoms of ordinary citizens.”

When asked to further clarify that threat, Americans complained the “federal government is too big and too powerful, and that it has too many laws.” They also cited “nonspecific allegations that the government violated freedoms and civil liberties, and that there is too much government in people’s private lives.”

The most frequently mentioned specific threats involved gun control laws and violations of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which were mentioned by 12 percent of those polled. There have been multiple mass shootings since September, the most recent in San Bernardino, California, where shooters killed 14 people and left 21 others injured. All the incidents led to a chorus of government officials calling for changes to the nation’s gun laws.

The Gallup poll was based on telephone interviews conducted December 2 to 6, with a random sampling of 824 adults aged 18 and over.