Gallup: Record high fear 'big government'

A record number of Americans think that “big government” is the biggest threat to the country, according to a new poll.

The Gallup survey released on Wednesday showed that 72 percent of people say that “big government” is a bigger threat to the country than “big labor” or “big business.”

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That’s the highest percentage of Americans who have expressed the preference since the pollster began asking the question in 1965.

According to the poll, just 21 percent of Americans cite “big business” as the greatest threat to the country, and only 5 percent have concerns about “big labor.”

The recent wariness about the government could be partly due to troubles with the recent rollout of ObamaCare, as well as revelations about surveillance from the National Security Agency (NSA), Gallup noted.

Though Republicans have driven the recent trend and are more concerned about government overreach, they are not alone. The survey found that 56 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of independents also fear “big government.”

The new findings chart a steady increase in concern about the government over recent years, since a low point in 2001 that could be partly attributable to sentiments following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The size of the federal government has certainly grown in recent years.

Though there are only imperfect metrics of measuring the pace of regulatory activity at the federal government, most accounts show that federal power is increasing every year.

Fears about "big government" have always topped the poll since Gallup began asking the question nearly 50 years ago.

The previous high mark for Americans’ concerns about the federal government was in 1999 and 2000, when 65 percent of the public said they feared it more than labor or business.

The Gallup poll was conducted from Dec. 5 to 8 and was based on interviews with more than 1,000 people across the country. 

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