What we the people think about our government

A new uber-review of survey data on American’s opinion of the federal government is out–Attitudes Toward the Federal Government. It is nice that it will be updated as new surveys are made public. You might not be surprised to learn that surveys slice the questions dozens of different ways, but keep coming up with the fact that Americans don’t think much of how the federal government is doing, but are not yet moved to do anything about it. From the late 1940s to the mid-1960s, Americans were more concerned about the power of big labor than about the reach of the federal government. For the first time in 1965, however, more people said that big government posed a greater threat to the future. That sentiment has not changed in the past 35 years. Even after the business scandals of late 2001 and 2002, Americans still pronounced big government the greatest threat. . . . significant numbers believe the government creates more problems than it solves. Large majorities do not trust the government to do what is right. People believe Washington is too big, inefficient, and wasteful. but at the same time. . . Americans still want the federal government to do many things. But they are critical of government performance. There is no evidence of a legitimacy crisis. Americans think their system of government is the best in the world, despite its faults.