More than 1 in 4 Americans believe that the government is the enemy, according to a new poll.
Pew Research Center found that 27% of registered voters say they think of government as an enemy, which is up 8 points since 1996. The latest poll looked at general public opinion regarding the federal government.
The findings suggests that 57% of voters feel frustrated with the government, while 22% feel angry and 18% feel “basically content.”
Among demographic groups, whites and older Americans are more likely to express anger at the government. A quarter of whites say they are angry at the federal government, compared with 17% of Hispanics and 12% of blacks.
Roughly 3 in 10 adults ages 50 and older (29%) say they are angry, which is more than double than those who say they are content with government (13%). Among those younger than 30, the balance of opinion is reversed — just 12% say they are angry with government, while 28% say they are basically content.
On top of that, about half of 18- to 29-year-olds (52%) would rather have a bigger government providing more services, while only a quarter of those ages 65 and older (25%) say this.
The majority of Americans feel the federal government has room for serious improvement, with 59% saying the government needs “very major reform,” compared to only 37% of voters feeling that way in 1997.
When asked what particularly makes the government problematic, Congress and politics were cited most often. 13% mentioned Congress, while 11% named politics.
More than a third (35%) of Republicans believe the federal government is the enemy, while 34% of Independents believe the same. The poll found that half of all Democrats (50%) view the government as a friend and only 12% see it as the enemy.
Other findings include that few think the government is run for the benefit of all the people and that it is commonly viewed as wasteful and inefficient. About 3 in 4 Americans say the federal government is “run by a few big interests” and 57% say the “government is almost always wasteful and inefficient.”