So government has been turning on the people, making allegations that certain citizen grassroots movements are angry and hostile and racist. It’s a political tactic to deflect voter discontent and blame….the voters. It’s not working.
A new Pew poll finds historic levels of unhappiness about the federal government and its role in the lives of average Americans, unrest that is at the foundation of what is shaping up to be a strongly anti-incumbent political year.
The current conditions in public opinion amount to a “perfect storm” of disgust/distrust toward government, according to Pew poll director Andy Kohut, who cites “a dismal economy, an unhappy public, bitter partisan-based backlash, and epic discontent with Congress and elected officials” as the critical factors in this building tempest.
By almost every conceivable measure, Americans are less positive and more critical of their government these days. There is a perfect storm of conditions associated with distrust of government—a dismal economy, an unhappy public, and epic discontent with Congress and elected officials.
These are among the principal findings from a new series of Pew Research Center surveys. Rather than an activist government to deal with the nation’s top problems, these surveys show that the general public now wants government reformed and a growing number want its power curtailed. With the exception of greater regulation of Wall Street, there is less of an appetite for government solutions to the nation’s problems—including greater government control over the economy—than there was when Barack Obama first took office.
The public’s hostility toward government seems likely to be an important election issue favoring the Republicans this fall. But the Democrats can take some solace in the fact that neither party can be confident it has the advantage among such a disillusioned electorate. Favorable ratings for both major parties, as well as for Congress, have reached record lows.
It’s no consolation, especially for Americans, that the media’s ratings are hovering down there, too.