As we close out 2013 and head into 2014, most of us are thinking about our hopes and fears. And, a new Gallup poll offers a remarkable insight into our fears.
Americans have always had an uneasy relationship with government, especially anything perceived as Big Government—the idea of an intrusive, micromanaging government. Americans’ preference for limited government is distinctive among economically advanced democracies. But is Big Government an actual threat to the country?
Is it a bigger threat than Big Labor or Big Business?
A record number of Americans think so, according to this Gallup poll. Almost three quarters (72%) said that Big Government “will be the biggest threat to the country in the future,” compared to Big Business or Big Labor. That’s the highest percentage since Gallup starting asking this survey question in 1965. Then, only 35% of Americans felt that Big Government was a bigger threat than Big Labor or Big Business.
Today, only 5% say that Big Labor is the biggest threat to the future of the country. Big Labor was perceived as a much bigger threat in the past. In 1965, 29% of Americans said that Big Labor was the biggest threat. Fears of Big Labor began to drop in 1995.
How about Big Business? Concerns about Big Business have fluctuated over the years, but in 2013, 21% named Big Business as the biggest threat. The figure was 32% in 2009. The peak since 1965 was 2002, with almost four of ten (38%) saying that Big Business was a bigger threat than Big Government or Big Labor.
Americans have become more opinionated over time. In 1965, 19% said that they had “no opinion” about the question at hand. This percentage declined into the single digits in 1999 (9% with no opinion) and has not been higher than 6% since then. Today, only 2% say they don’t have an opinion on which institution—Big Government, Big Labor, or Big Business—is the biggest threat to the nation.
Do you feel that Big Government is the biggest threat to our country?
Is Big Business the biggest threat?
What about Big Labor?