December 13 2011
There is heartening evidence that the country is not responding to the ugly rhetoric of class warfare. It comes from a new Gallup poll that finds that it is big government—not big business—that Americans most fear:
Americans' concerns about the threat of big government continue to dwarf those about big business and big labor, and by an even larger margin now than in March 2009.
The 64% of Americans who say big government will be the biggest threat to the country is just one percentage point shy of the record high, while the 26% who say big business is down from the 32% recorded during the recession.
It would not be unexpected to find that Republicans fear big government and that this fear has driven up BG’s unfavorables at a time when we are seeing an unprecedented expansion of federal power.
What is interesting, however, is that Democrats are turning against big government, even though a big government Democrat who rails against business now occupies the White House.
The numbers are stunning: Almost half of Democrats say that big business is the biggest threat, up from the 32 percent who felt that way when Obama took office in 2009. (Eighty-two percent of Republicans and 64 percent of independents regard big government as the top threat.)
Some of this fear of big government has to be the result of Obamacare, which will hand our most intimate decisions to government bureaucrats if allowed to stand and which was rammed through Congress by lawmakers willing to ride roughshod over public opinion.
Some of the fear undoubtedly stems from the public’s having watched government waste hundreds of billions in stimulus money without making a dint in unemployment.
Whatever the findings mean, they cannot be making the folks in the White House happy.
As the Examiner notes, the poll “seems to undercut” the president’s oft-stated charge that the financial crisis was “caused by rogue companies” and that these companies caused people to lose faith in the American dream.
I agree with Tina Korbe, who argues that the findings reveal the astuteness of the public:
If polls teach us anything, it’s that public opinion is perennially changing, but I still think this demonstrates in some small way the American people’s astute understanding — at a time of 8.6 percent unemployment — that jobs depend on expanding businesses, whereas increased government very often creates perverse incentives that undermine economic growth. And that should have electoral implications.