Americans have increasingly turned against the idea of “government regulation” since the beginning of the Obama administration. According to the latest Pew Research Center survey, 52 percent of Americans believe that government regulation of business usually does more harm than good, while just 40 percent believe it’s “necessary to protect the public interest”—the complete reverse of public opinion at the height of the financial crisis.
The difference between Republicans and Democrats on the issue is the biggest when it comes to environmental protection, but even so, only 36 percent of Republicans polled believe that environmental rules should be rolled back. And Pew points out that these views on specific regulations have changed little overall since 1995.
This contradictory take on regulations also mirrors public opinion on health-care reform: Americans have been dissatisfied with the Affordable Care Act as a whole, but some specific changes under the law are extremely popular.