Trend: How Would You Rate the Honesty and Ethical Standards of Senators/Members of Congress? % High/Very high

Trend: On the whole, would you say you are satisfied or dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed?

Trend: Which comes closer to your own view? Government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses, or government should do more to solve our country's problems?

Trend: Some people think the government should promote traditional values in our society. Others think the government should not favor any particular set of values. Which comes closer to your own view?

Trend: In general, do you think there is too much, too little, or about the right amount of government regulation of business and industry?

Trend: Do you think the federal government today has too much power, has about the right amount of power, or has too little power?

Trend: Of every tax dollar that goes to the federal government in Washington, D.C., how many cents of each dollar would you say are wasted?

How many cents of each tax dollar that goes to the government of this state would you say are wasted?

Trend: How many cents of each tax dollar that goes to your local government would you say are wasted?

Trend: Next, I'd like you to think more broadly about the purposes of government. Where would you rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 means you think the government should do only those things necessary to provide the most basic government functions, and 5 means you think the government should take active steps in every area it can to try and improve the lives of its citizens? You may use any number from 1 to 5.

Trend: Next, we have a question about the best approach for political leaders to follow in Washington. Where would you rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 means it is more important for political leaders to compromise in order to get things done, and 5 means it is more important for political leaders to stick to their beliefs even if little gets done? You may use any number from 1 to 5.

Americans' Views of the Federal Government -- Positive or Negative?

Now I am going to read you a list of institutions in American society. Please tell me how much confidence you, yourself, have in each one -- a great deal, quite a lot, some, or very little? First, ... Next, ... [RANDOM ORDER]

Trend on Confidence in Government Institutions

Next, I’m going to read a list of problems facing the country. For each one, please tell me if you personally worry about this problem a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or not at all? First, how much do you personally worry about the size and power of the federal government?

Trend: Next, I'm going to read some aspects of life in America today. For each one, please say whether you are -- very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied. How about our system of government and how it works?

Trend: How satisfied are you with the size and power of the federal government?

Trend on Honesty and Ethical Standards of Senators and Congressmen

Trend: Would you rather have more government services if that meant more taxes, less government services in order to reduce taxes, or services and taxes about as we have them now?

Would you rather have more government involvement in addressing the nation's problems if that meant more taxes, less government involvement in addressing the nation's problems in order to reduce taxes, or government involvement and taxes about as we have them now?

Trend: Next, we are going to name some major areas the federal government handles. For each one, please say whether you are satisfied or dissatisfied with the work the government is doing.

Trend: Next, we are going to name some major areas the federal government handles. For each one, please say whether you are satisfied or dissatisfied with the work the government is doing.

Trends: How would you rate the job being done by ... ? Would you say it is doing an excellent, good, only fair, or poor job?

Trend: Do you think the federal government poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens, or not?

Do you think the way politics works in Washington these days is causing serious harm to the United States, or are the effects not that serious?

Are you generally optimistic or pessimistic that the way politics works in Washington will improve in the next ten years?

Trend: Do you think Barack Obama will or will not make a sincere effort to work with the Republicans in Congress to find solutions that are acceptable to both parties?

Trend: Do you think the Republicans in Congress will or will not make a sincere effort to work with Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress to find solutions that are acceptable to both parties?

Trend: Do you think the Democrats in Congress will or will not make a sincere effort to work with the Republicans in Congress to find solutions that are acceptable to both parties?

Generally speaking, do you think Americans are too dependent on the federal government, or not?


In your view, how good a job are President Obama and the current Congress doing in dealing with the United States' most important problems -- [ROTATED: very good, good, poor, (or) very poor]?

Very good

Good

Poor

Very poor

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2011 Sep 15-18

4

26

40

27

1

Compared with how presidents and Congress have dealt with the nation's problems in the past, do you think President Obama and the current Congress are doing -- [ROTATED: a better job, about the same, (or are they doing) a worse job]?

Better

About the same

Worse

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

2011 Sep 15-18

13

33

52

2

2011 Jul 15-17

13

34

49

2

If the leaders of our nation followed the views of the public more closely, do you think the nation would be better off, or worse off than it is today?

Better off

Worse off

No
difference
(vol.)

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

2011 Sep 8-11

77

20

1

3

2005 Sep 12-15

73

22

3

2

2001 Sep 7-10

75

18

4

3

1996 Apr 25-28 ^

80

11

--

9

1975 Oct 3-6

67

16

9

8

^ Asked of half sample

If the leaders of our nation followed the views of public opinion polls more closely, do you think the nation would be better off, or worse off than it is today?

Better off

Worse off

No
difference
(vol.)

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

2011 Sep 8-11

68

25

3

4

2005 Sep 12-15

61

33

3

3

2001 Sep 7-10

63

27

6

4

1996 Apr 25-28 ^

73

14

--

13

(vol.) = Volunteered response

^ Asked of half sample


As I read off each of the following, please tell me whether you think it has too much power, about the right amount of power, or not enough power. How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

2011 Mar 25-27
Sorted by "too much"

Too
much

About
right

Not
enough

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

Lobbyists

71

13

8

8

Major corporations

67

21

9

3

Banks and financial institutions

67

23

8

2

The federal government in Washington

58

30

9

3

Labor unions

43

28

24

4

The government in your state

34

49

15

2

The courts, legal system and judges

34

49

14

3

Organized religion and churches

25

46

24

4

The municipal or local government where you live

22

53

21

3

The military

14

53

28

4

(Asked of a half sample) Next, please say whether you favor or oppose cutting government spending in each of the following areas. How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

2011 Jan 14-16
(sorted by "favor")

Favor

Oppose

No
opinion

%

%

%

Foreign aid

59

37

4

Funding for the arts and sciences

46

52

2

Aid to farmers

44

53

3

Homeland security

42

56

3

The military and national defense

42

57

1

Anti-poverty programs

39

55

6

Medicare

38

61

1

Social Security

34

64

2

Education

32

67

2

(Asked of a half sample) What is the one thing you would recommend be done to fix the federal government? [OPEN-ENDED]

2010 Oct 7-10

Fire all elected officials and start over

13

Cut spending/Control the deficit

10

Work together/More bipartisanship

10

Need more honest/reliable candidates

6

Create more jobs/Keep jobs in U.S.

5

Smaller government

4

Impeach the president and elect a new one

4

Term limits

4

Improve public awareness about voting/government

3

Less government involvement/control

2

Stop raising taxes/Lower taxes

2

Take care of people at home/Stop worrying about other countries

2

Follow the constitution

2

Put God/religion back in the picture

1

Work on improving the economy

1

Other

11

Nothing (vol.)

3

No opinion

16

(vol.) = Volunteered response

Can you please give me an example of something the federal government is currently doing that you think it should NOT be doing? [OPEN-ENDED]

2010 Sep 13-16

%

Healthcare legislation

18

Spending too much

10

Wars in Iraq/Afghanistan

9

Raising taxes/Not extending tax cuts

6

Bailouts of large corporations

6

Too involved in business affairs

5

Getting involved in other countries' affairs

4

Getting involved in matters of religion, morality

4

Immigration/Allowing illegal immigrants into country

4

Infringing too much on personal lives

2

Providing foreign aid

2

Too much regulation (nonspecific)

2

Challenging Arizona immigration law

2

Getting involved in Ground Zero mosque issue

2

Gay marriage

2

Education policy

1

Cap-and-trade legislation

1

Student loans/Costs for schooling

1

Moratorium on offshore drilling

1

Other

6

None/Nothing

12

No opinion

17

Percentages total more than 100% due to multiple responses

Can you please give me an example of something the federal government is currently NOT doing that you think it SHOULD be doing? [OPEN-ENDED]

2010 Sep 13-16

%

Creating jobs/Reducing unemployment

15

Securing the borders/Addressing immigration issue

13

Focus more on country's problems/people's problems

12

Improve the economy

6

Balance the budget/Limit spending

6

Bring troops home

5

Make infrastructure improvements

4

Expand healthcare coverage

4

Should be doing less in general

4

Cut taxes

4

Improve education

4

Regulation (nonspecific)

3

Regulate Wall Street/banks

3

Protect the environment/Address climate change

3

Help small businesses

2

Improve Social Security system

2

Help the elderly

1

Healthcare (nonspecific)

1

Help veterans

1

Other

9

None/Nothing

9

No opinion

8

Percentages total more than 100% due to multiple responses

Please tell me whether you strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree with each of the following statements. [RANDOM ORDER]

A. In general, businesses can do things more efficiently than the government

Strongly
agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly
disagree

No
opinion

Total
agree

%

%

%

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

28

45

21

4

2

73

B. In general, the way the government does things is fairer and more just to everyone involved than the way businesses do things

Strongly
agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly
disagree

No
opinion

Total
agree

%

%

%

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

6

30

43

17

4

36

C. There are some functions, such as building roads or funding research, the government needs to pay for because there are no incentives for private institutions to do so

Strongly
agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly
disagree

No
opinion

Total
agree

%

%

%

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

21

55

16

4

4

76

D. Business will harm society if it is not regulated by government

Strongly
agree

Agree

Disagree

Strongly
disagree

No
opinion

Total
agree

%

%

%

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

12

33

39

14

2

45

Next, I'm going to read a list of functions the federal government could serve. On a 1 to 5 scale, please say how much responsibility you think the government should have for each -- with 1 meaning the government should have no responsibility at all and 5 meaning the government should have total responsibility in this area. How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

A. Protecting Americans from foreign threats

5/Total

4

3

2

1/None

No opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

83

10

4

*

2

*

* Less than 0.5%

B. Preventing discrimination

5/Total

4

3

2

1/None

No opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

47

19

19

6

8

*

C. Upholding moral standards among its citizens

5/Total

4

3

2

1/None

No opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

25

14

23

13

24

*

D. Making sure that all those who want jobs have them

5/Total

4

3

2

1/None

No opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

35

16

21

13

14

*

* Less than 0.5%

E. Reducing income differences between the rich and the poor

5/Total

4

3

2

1/None

No opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

23

11

20

11

33

1

F. Making sure that all Americans have adequate healthcare

5/Total

4

3

2

1/None

No opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

42

15

14

9

20

*

G. Protecting consumers against unsafe products

5/Total

4

3

2

1/None

No opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

51

25

15

6

3

*

* Less than 0.5%

H. Providing a minimum standard of living for all

5/Total

4

3

2

1/None

No opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

30

15

21

15

18

1

I. Protecting the environment from human actions that can harm it

5/Total

4

3

2

1/None

No opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

42

23

20

10

5

*

J. Developing and maintaining the nation's transportation systems

5/Total

4

3

2

1/None

No opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

36

29

22

6

6

1

K. Protecting major U.S. corporations that are in danger of going out of business

5/Total

4

3

2

1/None

No opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

13

6

24

20

36

*

* Less than 0.5%

Which comes closer to your view -- [ROTATED: most Americans demand more from the government than they are willing to pay taxes for, (or) most Americans are willing to pay the taxes needed to fund services they expect government to provide]?

Demand more
than willing to
pay

Willing to pay
taxes needed

No
opinion

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

56

41

3

(Asked of those who believe government poses an immediate threat) In what ways do you see the government posing an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of its citizens? [OPEN-ENDED]

BASED ON THOSE WHO THINK THE GOVERNMENT POSES AN IMMEDIATE THREAT TO THE RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF ITS CITIZENS

2010 Sep 13-16

%

Too many laws/Gov't too big in general

18

Too much involvement in people's private lives

17

Taking away freedom of speech/Violating First Amendment

15

Healthcare law

11

Socialist government

8

Overtaxing/Taxes too high

7

Taking away freedom of religion

6

Gun control/Violating Second Amendment

6

Failing to secure borders/Illegal immigration

3

Overregulation/Too much involvement in business

3

Too much spending

2

Marriage issue

2

Other

3

None/Nothing

2

No opinion

9

Percentages total more than 100% due to multiple responses

When it comes to the issues facing the country today, in general, do you think the federal government is -- [ROTATED: more a part of the problem (or) more a part of the solution]?

More
problem

More
solution

Both
(vol.)

No
opinion

2010 Jun 11-13

65%

30

3

1

(vol.) = Volunteered response

Do you think President Obama's proposals to address the major problems facing the country call for too much expansion of government power, the right amount, or not enough expansion of government power?

Too much
expansion

Right
amount

Not enough
expansion

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

2009 Sep 11-13

51

37

10

3

2009 Jul 17-19

52

35

10

3

Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied with the way the federal government in Washington is dealing with the problems the country is facing today?

Very
satisfied

Somewhat
satisfied

Somewhat
dissatisfied

Very
dissatisfied

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2009 Apr 20-21

8

39

23

29

1

2008 Sep 5-7

3

17

28

51

1

Thinking about the way the federal government has responded to the financial crisis in recent months, generally speaking, do you approve or disapprove of the expansion of the government's role in the economy?

(Asked of those who approve of the expanded government role) Would you like to see the government's expanded role in the economy become permanent, or would you like to see the government reduce its role once the financial crisis is over?

COMBINED RESULTS: BASED ON FULL SAMPLE

2009 Mar 27-29

%

Approve of expanded role

53

(Would like to see it be permanent)

(13)

(Would like to see it reduced once crisis is over)

(39)

(Unspecified)

(1)

Disapprove of expanded role

44

No opinion

2

(Asked of a half sample) Do you think President Obama's proposals to address the economic problems in the country call for too big an expansion of government power, the right amount, or not a big enough expansion of government power?

Too big an
expansion

Right
amount

Not big
enough

No
opinion

2009 Mar 27-29

40%

46

10

4

Next, we'd like to know how you feel about some things as far as their future is concerned. Please say whether you feel generally optimistic about -- [ITEMS ROTATED] -- as far as the future is concerned, generally pessimistic about it, or uncertain about it.

A. Our system of government and how well it works

Generally
optimistic

Generally
pessimistic


Uncertain

No
opinion

2008 Jan 10-13

44%

23

33

1

1999 Feb 4-8

53%

19

27

1

1996 Mar 8-10

43%

28

28

1

Trends for Comparison: The Roper Organization

Generally
optimistic

Generally
pessimistic

Uncertain

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

1983 Feb

51

21

27

1

1981 Feb

51

21

26

2

1979 Feb

49

22

26

3

1977 Aug

47

21

29

3

1977 Feb

57

14

26

2

1975 Aug

45

24

29

3

1974 Aug

55

15

27

3

Next, I'm going to read you a list of things that are considered by some to be problems with the way things work in Washington. For each, please tell me whether you, personally, consider it to be -- a crisis, a major problem, a minor problem, or not a problem. How about -- [RANDOM OrDER]?

A. The failure of the government to solve the major challenges facing the country in the last few years


Crisis

Major
problem

Minor
problem

Not a
problem

No
opinion

2008 Jan 10-13

28%

52

16

3

2

B. Democratic and Republican leaders making decisions based on what is best for their party even if it is not in the best interests of the country


Crisis

Major
problem

Minor
problem

Not a
problem

No
opinion

2008 Jan 10-13

23%

57

16

3

2

C. Powerful special interests having too much control over what the government does


Crisis

Major
problem

Minor
problem

Not a
problem

No
opinion

2008 Jan 10-13

29%

53

14

3

2

I'd like to ask you about your member of Congress. Would you say that your member of Congress is [RANDOM ORDER]? Next, is your member [ITEM INSERTED]?

A. Corrupt or not corrupt

Corrupt

Not corrupt

No opinion

2006 Apr 28-30

22%

67

11

2006 Jan 6-8

22%

68

10

1994 Oct 22-24

27%

65

8

B. Focused on the needs of special interests, or focused on the needs of the constituents in your district

Special
interests

Constituents

No opinion

2006 Apr 28-30

40%

48

12

2006 Jan 6-8

40%

49

11

1994 Oct 22-24

42%

47

11

C. Generally out of touch with average Americans or generally in touch

Out of touch

In touch

No opinion

2006 Apr 28-30

77%

22

1

2006 Jan 6-8

69%

28

2

1994 Oct 22-24

75%

23

2

I'd like to ask you about most members of Congress. Would you say that most members of Congress are [RANDOM ORDER]? Next, are most members [ITEM INSERTED]?

A. Corrupt or not corrupt

Corrupt

Not corrupt

No opinion

2006 Apr 28-30

47%

46

7

2006 Jan 6-8

38%

55

7

1994 Oct 22-24

50%

44

6

B. Focused on the needs of special interests, or focused on the needs of the constituents in your district

Special
interests

Constituents

No opinion

2006 Apr 28-30

65%

30

6

2006 Jan 6-8

54%

40

6

1994 Oct 22-24

58%

37

5

C. Generally out of touch with average Americans or generally in touch

Out of touch

In touch

No opinion

2006 Apr 28-30

38%

55

7

2006 Jan 6-8

38%

58

5

1994 Oct 22-24

41%

54

5

Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/27286/government.aspx Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A +1 202.715.3030