"Big government" will be on the minds of many when they vote Nov. 7 for congressional candidates and on satte referenda dealing with spending curbs inspired by California's Proposition 13.
Voters, both Republican and Democratic, blame government for many of the nation's ills. Specifically, these findings emerge from the latest Gallup Poll:
Government, not business or labor, is held most responsible for inflation; "big government," rather than business or labor, poses the greatest threat to the nation's future, and a majority of Americans say they would vote for, rather than against, a congressional candidate who called for a 5 percent reduction in the federal work force during each of the next four years.
The percentage of Americans citing government as the chief culprit in the inflationary spirit (51 percent) is higher than in any survey in nearly two decades.
This is particularly significant because this finding was recorded at a time when six of every 10 Americans also were saying that inflation is the No. 1 problem facing the nation.
The public also sees government as more threatening to the future of the country.
Nearly half of all Americans, 47 percent, say the government poses the biggest threat to the future well-being of the nation. Big labor or big business is cited by 19 percent.
Unlike their attitudes regarding responsiblity for inflation, there are differences on this question by political affiliation. Although a plurality of Republicans, Democrats and independents find government most threatening, Democrats and most likely than either Republicans or independents to say the chief threat is big business.
One way to cut big government down to size is, of course, to do exactly that, and for many Americans federal bureaucrats rate at the top of the hit list.
Six in 10 people, 58 percent, say they would vote for rather than against a candidate who is running for Congress on a platform calling for a 5 percent reduction in the federal work force during each of the next four years. This represents an increase since 1975, when 53 pecent said they would support such a candidate.
Again, differences of view on this question are apparently by political affiliation. Republicans are considerably more likely to say they would support a candidate running on an anti-bureacracy platform (69 percent) than are Democrats (56 percent) or independens (55 percent).