The end of 2013 has witnessed several new records in public opinion polling, as we’ve discussed this week. This December was the first time that “Happy Holidays” edged out “Merry Christmas” as the seasonal greeting of choice. Across the board, we saw a decline in most of the activities typically associated with the holiday season, especially caroling.
And, fears of Big Government hit record levels. But this fear is not evenly distributed.
Who fears Big Government the most? Far and away, the sharp upswing in fears about Big Government is driven mostly by Republicans, according to Gallup. Today, more than nine of ten (92%) of Republicans say that Big Government is a bigger threat to the nation’s future than Big Business or Big Labor. This is the highest percentage for Republicans since Gallup began polling on this question in 1966.
Democrats’ worries about Big Government have fluctuated over the years, but there’s been no clear trend up or down. Today, 56% of Democrats view Big Government as the biggest threat. About a third of Democrats (36%) see Big Business as the major worry, in contrast to 4% of Republicans who share the same concern.
Before 1986, Republicans and Democrats didn’t disagree so much about the Big Government threat. After 1986, the percentage of Republicans who saw Big Government as the major threat began to rise. (Recall that Ronald Reagan was president at that time, who said in his 1981 inaugural speech: “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”)
Republican fears of Big Government plunged after 9/11, and they agreed once more with their Democratic counterparts about how big a problem government actually was. Since then, however, Republican concerns have risen, reaching record levels by the end of 2013.
No one seems to worry about Big Labor anymore, probably because the power of organized labor is at low ebb, and right-to-work laws have gutted labor’s big bite.
What’s the biggest concern for you—Big Government, Big Business, or Big Labor?
As 2013 draws to a close, what worries you the most?