Currently, 56% say they would rather have a smaller government providing fewer services; 35% prefer a bigger government. These opinions have changed little over the course of Obama’s presidency. In October 2008, however, opinion was more evenly divided (46% smaller government vs. 40% bigger government).Gallup finds something similar:
Americans say there is too much (47%) rather than too little (26%) government regulation of business and industry, with 24% saying the amount of regulation is about right. Americans have been most likely to say there is too much regulation of business over the last several years, but prior to 2006, Americans' views on the issue of government regulation of business were more mixed.
The collapse of Lehman Bros., the failure of the secondary mortgage market, and other business problems in 2008 and 2009 might have been expected to increase Americans' desire for more government control of business and industry. But that was not the case. Americans' views that there is too much government regulation in fact began to rise in 2009, perhaps in response to the new Obama administration and new business regulation policies such as Dodd-Frank, reaching an all-time high of 50% in 2011 before settling down slightly this year to 47%.
There has been little change since 2003 in the percentage of Americans saying there is too little regulation of business. The changes that have occurred in recent years have involved shifts between the percentages choosing the "too much" and "about right" alternatives.The Reason-Rupe poll finds:
As the presidential candidates debate the role of government, the Reason-Rupe poll finds 55 percent of Americans believe the federal government has too much influence over their lives, 36 percent say the amount of influence is about right and just 7 percent say the government does not have enough influence.
Over two-thirds, 67 percent, of likely voters say it is not the government’s responsibility to reduce income differences between Americans, while 29 percent say it is the government’s responsibility. Similarly, 61 percent of likely voters tell Reason-Rupe that today’s levels of income inequality are an acceptable part of America’s economic system, 35 percent say income inequalities need to be fixed.
Today, 59 percent of voters believe all Americans have equal opportunities to succeed, whereas 39 percent do not believe everyone has equal opportunities.
When asked if they are better off than they were four years ago, 44 percent of likely voters feel they are better off, 41 percent say worse off.
A majority of Americans, 57 percent, support raising income tax rates on incomes over $250,000. However, the very same number—57 percent—says the top 5 percent of earners shouldn’t have to contribute more than 40 percent of the total federal income taxes paid to government. In 2009, the top 5 percent of earners contributed 59 percent of total federal income taxes paid.