December 13, 2011

"Historically, Americans have always been more concerned about big government than big business or big labor..."

Gallup polling shows a trend dating back to the 1960s, as new data show fear of big government hitting 64% — hitting near the pre-9/11 all-time peak of 65%.



Even Democrats are more afraid of big government than of big business, which was not the case in 2009. Since 2009, and despite the Occupy Wall Street clamor about business, big business as the greatest fear has declined by 4 percentage points among Republicans and independents and 8 percentage points among Democrats.

Note that the graph only shows the apportionment of fear among 3 sources of fear, not the total amount of fear. It's possible that people are less afraid of government than before, but that they have an even greater reduction in fear of big business and big labor.

48 comments:

ndspinelli said...

I'm afraid of everything big, except breasts and bowls of pasta; not neccesarily in that order.

AJ Lynch said...

Some recycled thoughts from yours truly:

"I dream of a day where one rarely hears anything about or from the Congress, the president, the Beltway, the Supreme Court, the federal govt or any other central govt apparatus."

ndspinelli said...

I guess Drudge is flattered to have his posts used by others so often. I found his post about red state rock bands getting snubbed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame pretty interesting.

And, maybe this poll is indicative of how there is increasingly less difference between big biz and big govt in our duopoly. Big biz just doles out to both sides. Small biz gets shit on, helping big biz to grow even bigger.

Original Mike said...

"It's possible that people are less afraid of government than before"

Possible, but not likely (IMO) given the growing clamor over the federal debt.

edutcher said...

This, after all is why we have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights.

Ann Althouse said...

Even Democrats are more afraid of big government than of big business

After a century of trying to destroy the Constitution, maybe the Demos are finally wising up.

Steve Koch said...

"It's possible that people are less afraid of government than before, but that they have an even greater reduction in fear of big business and big labor."

What are you talking about, Althouse? I looked at the linked article and it gave very specific stats re: the biggest threat to the country by political party that show that fear has grown, especially among Dems.

In 2009 (y1 Obama), it went:
Dem: 32
Rep: 80
Ind: 52

By 2011, it has jumped to:
Dem: 48
Rep: 82
Ind: 64

That is a jump for all 3 parties but especially for Dems. How does anyone whose biggest fear is the government vote for a Dem president? Who isn't afraid of a too big, too powerful fed government in the USA?

Ann Althouse said...

@Steve I'm referring to the nature of percentages. You don't know the total amount of fear that constitutes 100% of the fear of the thing most feared at any given time.

Steve Koch said...

What is amazing is that during a Dem presidency, the percentage of Dems who think the fed government is the single biggest threat to America jumped from 32% to 48%. That is a 50% increase in the number of Dems who fear the fed government.

The probability that overall fear for our country re: threats from gov, unions, and big business has declined in the last 3 years is miniscule.

Christopher said...

Is it really that difficult for people to understand that businesses and unions can't legally force you to do a damn thing absent a large govt. with far reaching powers?

Revenant said...

How does anyone whose biggest fear is the government vote for a Dem president?

Because Republicans haven't nominated a small-government candidate for President since 1964?

It is like asking "how can a man who cares about chastity choose Sasha Grey over Paris Hilton". After a certain point it becomes pointless to argue over which choice is furthest from satisfactory.

Steve Koch said...

If you want to argue such an improbable position, then you need to show some proof that Americans are feeling significantly less threatened by gov/unions/business now than they were three years ago.

It seems to me you missed the most interesting and surprising point of the article, that Dem fear of big government has skyrocketed during a Dem presidency.

Ann Althouse said...

"The probability that overall fear for our country re: threats from gov, unions, and big business has declined in the last 3 years is miniscule."

Maybe, but I thought it was important to note what the statistics were.

And in fact, it is possible that there was greater fear when Bush was President, because the media were stoking fear about some things that they don't talk so much about anymore. The government is "wire-tapping" us, for example. It's putting citizens in Guantanamo.

caseym54 said...

Big labor and big business can't throw your ass in jail.

bagoh20 said...

Combine all three and you have the real problem we face - the trinity of evil

Jay said...

And of course today it was announced that the DOT recommends a full ban of cellphone usage in cars (even hands free) and Congress is considering "sweeping legislation" regarding child abuse.

Why it almost as if the people in Washington aren't listening or something.

Steve Koch said...

Revenant

"Because Republicans haven't nominated a small-government candidate for President since 1964?

After a certain point it becomes pointless to argue over which choice is furthest from satisfactory."

Because there was no difference in voting for Reagan rather than Carter, right?

At least the Tea Party and other fiscal conservatives exert tremendous pressure on the GOP to trim government. With the Dems, the whole point is to increase the size, power, cost of government.

TosaGuy said...

Big business cannot force me to buy something from itself and only the government can force me to buy something from big business. We will know in a few months if the Supreme Court will still let government retain that capability.

Jay said...

That is a 50% increase in the number of Dems who fear the fed government.

Sorry, but I don't believe them.

They may answer abstractly to a pollster, but 88%+ of them will vote for the biggest government candidate for Congress and President.

AprilApple said...

A government that can control your life is a government that can ruin your life.
A government that offers person A something for "free" at the expense of person B, is going to destroy both A and B.

Jay said...

Said DOT, but the NTSB recommends to the 50-states that they adopt statutes banning any use of cellular phones while driving.

Of course they have no real evidence this will do any good.

Steve Koch said...

Bush wasn't prez in 2009, Obama was.

We have a nice clean comparison of how attitudes have changed during the Obama presidency. It is striking how Dems attitudes have changed. It seems like the most interesting discussion is to focus on why Dems are much more fearful of big government (a 50% jump!), even though a Dem is/was prez during the period from 2009 through 2011.

MayBee said...

Here is the question that was asked:

In your opinion, which of the following will be the biggest threat to the country in the future -- big business, big labor, or big government?

Each person was asked to name the biggest threat, not to rank the three items.
So yes, it's possible that everyone who currently thinks government is the biggest threat may not have the intensity of feeling as those in days past. It's equally possible they have a greater fear now.

Ann Althouse said...

"I guess Drudge is flattered to have his posts used by others so often."

I didn't get it from Drudge. I saw it somewhere else. Everyone is linking to that today. But Drudge never does "hat tips," so there's no need to give him any.

Where do you get this confidence that what you think you know is true? It's unattractive.

garage mahal said...

Perhaps the jump in the Democrats fear of big gov comes from the radical [and now highly unpopular] Republican governors elected in 2010.

Calypso Facto said...

Perhaps the jump in the Democrats fear of big gov comes from the radical [and now highly unpopular] Republican governors elected in 2010.

Unpopular?

October 29, 2011
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Wisconsin Voters shows that 38% Strongly Approve of the job Walker is doing, while the same number (38%) Strongly Disapproves.

Oh, I think you mean unpopular like THIS:

December 13, 2011
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 20% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Thirty-nine percent (39%) Strongly Disapprove

ricpic said...

"Historically, Americans are more concerned about big government than big business or big labor..."

It must be the attraction of "the bad boy" in that case, because Americans have been swooning in big government's embrace since at least the New Deal.

Kirby Olson said...

Ron Paul keeps saying, "Get RID of it!" whatever agency we're talking about. I think THAT scares a lot of people, too. Obama did jettison a few of his czars. What's the bottom line we could have in terms of getting rid of as many people in Washington as possible and yet still keeping a functioning minimum?

ndspinelli said...

Professor, I will take you on your word about the source for this post, and I am chastened.

A very recent example of the unattractive "quality" you ascribed to me can be found in your uninformed comments regarding cannabis a couple days ago. And, in that case no honor is required, it's there for all to read. It is really not a fair game when honor is unilateral. But, I live by the credo that character is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...

Perhaps the jump in the Democrats fear of big gov comes from the radical [and now highly unpopular] Republican governors elected in 2010.


Yeah because those Republicans are so busy proposing big government and stuff!!!

Idiot.

garage mahal said...

Unpopular?

Yes, unpopular. Are you arguing the 2010 Republican governor class *is* popular?

Chip S. said...

Obviously, most of the credit for this goes to Obama as the man in charge, but I think Janet Napolitano deserves a shout-out for helping to make the TSA the epitome of governmental stupidity, intrusiveness, and arrogance.

garage mahal said...

Yeah because those Republicans are so busy proposing big government and stuff!!!

They are, you either don't know, don't care, or just too dimwitted to understand Republicans love their own big government meddling.

How did that big government union busting turn out in Ohio, Jaytard? And do you think they'll turn to a union busting Republican Presidential candidate?

Nonapod said...

It's always misleading talking about voters approval/disapproval of Congress. When asked people will say Congress is doing a horrible job when the economy is in a shambles like it is now. Last I checked it's approval rating is in the single digits. But basically it's meaningless. We don't vote for Congress as a whole entity. A more useful question is "Do you think your own Congressmen and/or Senators are doing a good job?"

Kirk Parker said...

Would it help solve the ranking vs intensity dilemma to note that "No Opinion" was also a choice, even though Gallup didn't chart that line on the graph (very wrongly, IMO.) What's interesting is that in the early years, that option actually got a significant percentage; today it's pretty low--even insignificantly so, but still it was wrong for Gallup to conceal that insigificance.

Kirk Parker said...

ndspinelli,

Not afraid of big breasts? Dude, you could get smothered!! (Or does this belong in the Exmoor Emporer thread instead?)

wv: adedne - my orthopedic surgeon's explanation for why I needed a replacement.

Jay said...

They are, you either don't know, don't care, or just too dimwitted to understand Republicans love their own big government meddling.

Yeah and the examples you can give of this remain at zero.

How did that big government union busting turn out in Ohio,

Er, it was neither "big government" nor "union busting"

PS, I love the fact you can't even speak to the unsustainable economics of the public sector.

It is almost as if you're a moron or something.

MayBee said...

but the NTSB recommends to the 50-states that they adopt statutes banning any use of cellular phones while driving.

It's almost like the NTSB got jealous of the TSA.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...



They are, you either don't know, don't care, or just too dimwitted to understand Republicans love their own big government meddling.


What is comical is how often you rush to the Internet to prove what an idiot you are.

Note: 82% of Republicans today view big government as the biggest threat.

But in garageland, that's because they hate the Republican Governors they voted for!!! And stuff!!!

Seriously, you are a beclowner on a level that is not really even describable.

And it boggles the mind that you press on in your silliness each day.

Revenant said...

Because there was no difference in voting for Reagan rather than Carter, right?

That does not follow from what I said.

At least the Tea Party and other fiscal conservatives exert tremendous pressure on the GOP to trim government.

Sure. But there are exactly two Republican candidates in the race who follow the Tea Party principles of shrinking government: Ron Paul and Gary Johnson.

Neither of whom will be the nominee.

ndspinelli said...

Kirk Parker lol! Being smothered to death by large breasts is my prayer every evening. Can you think of a better way to go? I imagine that's the only way to be smothered w/o the survival instict kicking in. A woman w/ a large rack could be a serial killer and never get caught..no sign of struggle and the victim died smiling.

Steve Koch said...

Revenant said...
"Because there was no difference in voting for Reagan rather than Carter, right?"

"That does not follow from what I said."


It kinda did. You mentioned that it really doesn't make any difference when the candidates are so far from ideal and that the GOP had not nominated a small gov prez since 1960.

My point is that it does make a difference whether you vote Dem or GOP. For example, in 1980 Reagan was far preferable to Carter.

Whoever the GOP nominates will be effectively pressured by the Tea party. BTW, Ron Paul has zero chance of getting elected so it is good that he is not getting nominated.

Everything is relative, there is always a relatively best choice (even if, in absolute terms, both choices suck).

Scott M said...

What's with the mirrored hockey sticks?

garage mahal said...

Note: 82% of Republicans today view big government as the biggest threat.

Republicans view Democrats as the threat. That is it. When Republicans are in office you will dutifully get in line and defend any hairbrained, budget busting scheme, just as you're ordered to do.

sorepaw said...
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sorepaw said...
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sorepaw said...
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Steve Koch said...

garage mahal said

"Republicans view Democrats as the threat. That is it. When Republicans are in office you will dutifully get in line and defend any hairbrained, budget busting scheme, just as you're ordered to do."

Not really. Many (most?) conservatives hold their nose and vote for the GOP not because we love the GOP but because it is the lesser of two evils. Conservative voters rebelled against W. The Tea party is certainly primarily a rebellion against the big spending tendencies of the GOP.

Most conservatives really, really want to reduce the size, cost, and power of the government.

Jay said...

arage mahal said...

Republicans view Democrats as the threat. That is it


Hilarious. And here I thought it was the Republican Govenors that were all unpopular!

Oh well, nobody will ever say coherence is your strong suit.