Gallup: Majority Says Federal Government Too Powerful

Image: Gallup: Majority Says Federal Government Too Powerful Tea Party supporters rally outside IRS headquarters in Washington, D.C. on May 21.

Monday, 27 May 2013 04:50 PM

By Lisa Barron

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A majority of Americans believe that the federal government is too powerful, according to the latest Gallup poll.

The 54 percent who say the government has "too much power" has not changed much—the figure is slightly higher than in 2012 and marginally lower than in 2010 and 2011—in the wake of the latest scandals involving the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department.

Urgent: Is Obama Telling the Truth on IRS, Benghazi Scandals?

The IRS has been embroiled in allegations that the agency targeted conservative groups applying for tax exempt nonprofit status, while reports have emerged that the DOJ seized phone and e-mail records of journalists at the Associate Press and Fox News.

Still, the poll found that the number of people who think the government has too much power is about the same as it has been since 2005.

Thirty-six percent say the government has about the right amount of power, while 8 percent of Americans say it has "too little" power.

Not surprisingly, though, there is a dramatic difference in opinion when it comes to party affiliation. More than twice as many Republicans, 76 percent, as Democrats, 32 percent, believe the government has too much power, while a majority of independents side with the GOP.

Republicans are also much more likely than Democrats to agree with the assertion that the federal government "poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens," the poll found, although a quarter of Democrats say they agree.

Overall, just under half of Americans, 46 percent, agree with that contention, while 53 percent disagree.

The telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,016 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia were conducted between May 20-21, 2013 with a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Urgent: Is Obama Telling the Truth on IRS, Benghazi Scandals?

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