"By almost every conceivable measure Americans are less positive and
more critical of government these days," finds a new Pew Research Center
. Why so cynical? The report cites an
under performing economy and "epic discontent" with Congress. How does this bode for the president's legislative goals? Here's
what pundits on the left and right are making of the survey:
Want Wall Street Reform but Not Much Else, writes Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew
Research Center: "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."
News, sighs liberal Steve Benen at The Washington
Monthly: "For progressives, the results of the study may not be
especially surprising, but they're nevertheless discouraging. One of
President Obama's thematic challenges upon taking office was convincing
the electorate that government activism can and should play a role in
strengthening the country. That challenge appears even more daunting
now, as more of the public opposes the idea of government action
- This Is Deeper Than Just Policy
Specifics, writes conservative Ed Morrissey at Hot Air: "Americans
seem to disapprove of government on general and philosophical bases
rather than in the context of specific agencies. Twelve years ago, Pew
found that 50% of respondents felt that the federal government made a
positive impact on daily life, with 31% saying the impact on daily life
was negative. Today, that has reversed to 38% positive and 43%
negative, a 24-point swing. For those who see government going off the
rails, 50% blame inefficiency, but an increasing percentage — 38%, up
from 29% in 1997 — say it’s because of having wrong priorities."
Poll Is Bogus Left-leaning Prairie Weather blog writes: "It's the
problem with most polls now: they measure 'opinions' based on
second-hand, third-hand, and fourth-hand information. By the time many
Americans have an opinion, the opinion is based on he-said-that-she
said-that-they-said rather than understanding and hard fact."
Is a Message to the President, writes Conn Carroll at The Heritage
Foundation: "President Obama has always tried to cast himself as a
centrist... Unfortunately, President Obama has completely abandoned them
taxes on lower-income Americans, cutting
defense spending, and enacting a $862
billion failed stimulus.And we haven’t even mentioned the
President’s health care plan yet." This reaction is natural, adds conservative pundit
Jennifer Rubin. "Hard to miss the
message: a vast overreach by the Democrats has sparked a revival of the
public’s distaste for liberal statism."
- No It's
Not, counters Derek Thompson at The Atlantic. He
points to a decline in trust dating back to the '60s: "This poll isn't
an outlying data point. It's part of an overall decline in government
trust since the mid-1960s. The only time since 1975 that government
trust broke 50% was in the months following 9/11. After the tumultuous
assassinations of the 1960s, the Vietnam War, the resignation of
President Nixon, and the stagnation of the late 1970s, public trust fell
from 80% in 1966 to about 25% in 1981. Since then it's only peaked over
50% once, after 9/11."
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