Fifty-four percent of Americans say the federal government today has too much power. Despite the recent controversies facing federal agencies such as the IRS, these views are only marginally higher than in 2012, and slightly lower than in 2010 and 2011. At least half of Americans since 2005 have said the federal government has too much power, whereas in the three years prior to that, Americans were more inclined to believe federal power was "about right."
Americans' views of federal power have become a renewed focal point in recent weeks with allegations that the IRS used its power to selectively audit certain types of organizations, and news reports of Justice Department investigations into Associated Press and Fox News records and emails. It does not appear, however, that these news stories have dramatically altered Americans' views of the federal government's power. The 54% who now say the federal government has "too much power" is in the same general range as it has been since 2005.
Only 8% of Americans say the federal government has "too little" power, while 36% say the government has about the right amount of power.
As would be expected, there is a major gulf between Republicans' and Democrats' views on this issue. More than twice as many Republicans (76%) as Democrats (32%) say the government has too much power, with a majority of independents coming down on the same side as Republicans.