Thursday, August 12, 2010

Like conservatives, independent voters are turning on Big Government

Just three months away from the midterm elections, in a cycle marred by anemic economic growth and high unemployment, any political party holding the White House and 59 percent majorities in the House and Senate would have plenty to worry about. But beyond the fragile state of the economy, the expected 1 million foreclosures this year, and dispiriting job numbers, something more basic is striking at the heart of President Obama and his fellow Democrats in Congress who have pursued a boldly activist agenda. Many Americans, particularly independent voters, seem to be changing their minds and seeing the role of government in a somewhat different light. By a few points, independent voters had generally sided with Democrats in favor of the government doing more, but they significantly changed their tune beginning last September. More than half, 56 percent, said then that government was doing too many things, and only 35 percent said that government should do more. In the five polls that began that month, the "less government" opinion won out by 10-to-21 points among independents, most recently in June 2010 by 15 points, 55 percent to 40 percent. That survey obviously came after the House voted for cap-and-trade legislation and after the health care reform battle was fully engaged. Such a decisive shift in swing voters' attitudes about government's proper role will inevitably have electoral and policy implications...more

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