WASHINGTON, September 21, 2015– Almost half of Americans, 49%, say that the federal government poses “an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens,” similar to what was found in previous surveys conducted over the last five years. When this question was first asked in 2003, less than a third of Americans held this attitude. These numbers come from a Gallup survey released on Monday.
Voters participating in the poll said the biggest threat comes from the size and scope of the federal bureaucracy.
Meanwhile, another 15 percent worry that the federal government is also violating too many civil liberties and personal freedoms belonging to Americans.
A large number of respondents also believe the federal government is violating the 2nd Amendment.
Perceived government threat is extremely dependent on party politics and control over the White House.
Gallup notes that the majority of those who today believe government is an immediate threat are either Republicans or independents who lean Republican. In total, 65 percent of Republicans or independents who lean Republican believe the government is a threat. Meanwhile, only 32 percent of Democrats or independents that lean Democrat believe the federal government to be an immediate threat.
In contrast, 59 percent of Democrats or independents that lean Democrat believed the federal government was an immediate threat when President George W. Bush was in office. Meanwhile, only 24 percent of Republicans or independents who lean Republican felt the federal government was an immediate threat during this time.
Still, total perceived threat is at its highest level in more than 12 years.
“Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Sept. 9-13, 2015, with a random sample of 1,025 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.”