Thursday, October 14, 2010

Almosst 60% say government is too powerul, does too much

PRINCETON, NJ -- Record- or near-record-high percentages of Americans are critical of the size and scope of government, as measured by four Gallup trend questions updated in September. This sentiment stretches to 59% of Americans now believing the federal government has too much power, up eight percentage points from a year ago.

Nearly as many Americans also give the antigovernment response to a question asking whether government should do more to solve the country's problems or whether it is doing too many things that should be left to businesses and individuals. Today's 58% saying it is doing too much is just slightly below the 59% to 60% levels recorded in the mid- to late '90s.

The latest results are based on Gallup's annual Governance survey, cosponsored this year by USA Today, and conducted Sept. 13-16.

Americans are about evenly split over whether the government is overreaching with its regulation of business and industry versus doing too little or the right amount in this area. However, the 49% now saying there is too much government regulation is the highest seen in the past decade.

Americans continue to disagree rather than agree that the federal government poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. However, the current 51% to 46% split on this question represents the narrowest margin since Gallup first asked it in 2003.

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