Americans increasingly believe that government is an “immediate threat” to our freedoms, though they believe it for different reasons. Not surprisingly, it seems that distrust in government is correlated with what political party occupies the White House. When it’s a Democrat-led White House, Republicans consider government to be a threat to freedom, and vice versa.
Almost half of Americans, 49%, say 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.
… The remarkable finding about these attitudes is how much they reflect apparent antipathy toward the party controlling the White House, rather than being a purely fundamental or fixed philosophical attitude about government. Across the four surveys conducted during the Republican administration of George W. Bush, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents were consistently more likely than Republicans and Republican-leaning independents to say the federal government posed an immediate threat.
Of those believing that government is an immediate threat to freedom, 19% reasoned that the government has “too many laws/government is too big in general.” Fifteen percent believed there are too many “violations of freedoms and civil liberties.”
Looking at the growing list of government scandals and corruption throughout Obama’s presidency (the VA scandal, IRS scandal, NSA spying scandal, Hillary’s email scandal, and multiple incidents of civil asset forfeiture abuse, to name a few), it’s hard to blame them.