Gallup: Fewer Americans believe the government has too much power

September 17, 2012

A slight majority of Americans—51 percent—believe that the federal government has too much power, according to a new Gallup poll. But that viewpoint has been steadily receding since late 2010, and an increasing number of Americans are now inclined to believe that Washington has "the right amount of power":


(Source: Gallup)

Similarly, Gallup finds that the percentage of Americans who believe the government is doing too much still outnumber those who believe the government should do more. But that gap has begun to close in recent months:


(Source: Gallup)

Gallup flags the rising number of Americans who want more government intervention as particularly significant. It's at a historic high, and it marks one of the main fault lines in the between Democrats and Republicans in the 2012 election campaign.

"Only a few times in Gallup's 20-year history of asking this question has a higher percentage of Americans said the government should do more to solve the nation's problems than said the government is doing too much," the firm writes. "Two of these were in the fall of 1992 and again in early 1993, as Bill Clinton ran for and took office as president."

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Sarah Kliff · September 17, 2012