Tags: gallup | threat | big | government

Americans See Government as 'Bigger Threat' than Business or Unions

Thursday, 19 Dec 2013 08:13 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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A record number of Americans believe that big government is a "greater threat" to the United States than big business or big labor, according to a new Gallup survey.

The poll of 1,031 adults taken Dec. 5-8 found that 72 percent of respondents see government as a threat in their daily lives, compared to 65 percent in 1999 and 2000.

Historically, big government has always been considered more of a threat than big business and big labor. It has been the leading concern of the three since the question was first asked in a 1965 Gallup survey, which at the time found that 35 percent of Americans saw the government as a threat.

Gallup surveys taken since 2009 have noted "a steady increase" during President Barack Obama's tenure in the number of Americans troubled by big government. In 2009, the figure was 55 percent, 64 percent in 2011, and 72 percent this year.

"This suggests that government policies specific to the period, such as the Affordable Care Act — perhaps coupled with recent revelations of government spying tactics by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden — may be factors," Gallup officials wrote in a release about the latest poll results.

Concerns about the government as a threat has averaged about 64 percent during Obama's presidency, compared to 56 percent through George W. Bush's presidency from 2001 to 2009. The average during the Bill Clinton years from 1993 to 2001 was about 65 percent.

"This pattern is largely driven by Republicans, who generally are more likely to be concerned about the size and power of government, and this concern is amplified when a Democrat is president," Gallup officials said.

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