Monday, October 28, 2013

New Evidence: Americans actually LIKE their government

We’ve known for some time that Americans will say they want a smaller government if you just ask about the government in general.  However, when you ask about a smaller government whether in terms of spending on specific government programs like the environment or education or social services or just about anything else, you get a totally different response.  Basically, Americans say “I want a small government, but I don’t want the government to do less.”  A similar picture emerges when you ask about how Americans view the federal government and government employee as a whole, you get a negative rating.  However, the opposite is true when you ask about individual government agencies.  Take a look at these charts from Pew Research.  Only 19% of Americans think the Federal Government does a good job.  However, when asked about their view of 13 specific agencies, 12 agencies were given a favorable rating by more than half of Americans surveyed.  The only agency that was rated negatively by the majority, and then only 51%, was the tax collector, IRS.  And, look at the rating of Federal workers.  We over 60% of Americans think Federal workers do a pretty good job compared to nearly three quarters who think the members of Congress we have elected are jerks.  

Bottom line: Americans don’t really dislike government or government bureaucrats, accept in the abstract.  Democrats should keep that in mind.  We win when we talk about specific policy.  We lose when we let the Republicans keep the conversation about abstract, evil, government bad guys.  Read the Pew Research here:

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