Republicans, Democrats diverge on power of government, labor unions

The partisan differences are even starker with respect to labor unions. Republicans are significantly more likely to think unions have too much power rather than too little power, resulting in a net plus-59 "too much power" rating. Democrats say unions have too little power, with a minus-19 net rating.

About 43 percent of all respondents said labor unions have too much power while 28 percent said it's about right and 24 percent said it's not enough. 

While the majority said the military has the right amount of power, only 14 percent said the military has too much and 28 percent said it doesn't have enough, the highest percentage of any other category. 

Democrats are somewhat more likely than Republicans to see organized religion, the military, major corporations and banks as too powerful. The two parties have similar views on the courts, lobbyists, local government and state government.

As a whole, state and local governments, the legal system, organized religion and the military each have the right amount or too little power, respondents said. 

During the first few months of this year, heated debates have raged across the country over the power of government and labor unions. 

Several state governors are trying to strip workers of their collective bargaining abilities, while in Congress, Republicans and Democrats are battling over the size of government. 

Many congressional Republicans have been critical of the Federal Reserve's plan to stimulate economic growth by purchasing $600 billion in government debt. 

The political views of independents typically fall halfway between those views held by Republicans and Democrats with 47 percent of independents saying labor unions have too much power, close to the average of Republicans' 69 percent and Democrats' 20 percent.