In the past few weeks, Americans have learned just how wasteful that obscure and well regarded government agencies can be. From the GSA’s lavish spending to send interns to Palm Springs, to the Secret Service’s hooker ho-downs in Third World Countries, from the oppressive TSA to the crucifying EPA, government is increasingly becoming more than just the enemy of small government advocates. If you run a business, fly anywhere, own a farm or just want to be free, big government has become a big enemy, period.
Barack Obama, meanwhile, is oblivious to all this. He keeps on pushing government as the be all end all solution to everything. A new poll out suggests that this attitude is going to catch up with him.
Today, just one in three has a favorable view of the federal government — the lowest level in 15 years, according to a Pew survey. The majority of Americans remain satisfied with their local and state governments — 61 percent and 52 percent, respectively — but only 33 percent feel likewise about the federal government.
In 2002, nearly double that figure, 64 percent, viewed the federal government favorably, and Americans held their local and state governments in similar esteem, at 67 percent and 62 percent, respectively.
There’s the expected partisan gap: A majority of Democrats, 51 percent, view the Obama-led government favorably, compared to 27 percent of independents and 20 percent of Republicans. During the Bush presidency, a majority of Republicans viewed the federal government favorably, while support for it faded among Democrats.
Independents align more closely with the Republican position than with Obama’s pro-big government position.
From the general to the specific, Obama’s personal spending habits are even chipping away at his base support:
Blue collar Democratic voters, stuck taking depressing “staycations” because they can’t afford gas and hotels, are resentful of the first family’s 17 lavish vacations around the world and don’t want their tax dollars paying for the Obamas’ holidays, according to a new analysis of swing voters.
“They view everything through their own personal situation and if they can’t afford to do it, they can’t enjoy it, they don’t like Obama using their tax dollars to benefit himself,” said pollster John McLaughlin. “In this case, they see him as out of touch. While they are struggling he’s not sharing in that struggle and he’s basically doing what they can’t do on their tax dollars,” added the GOP pollster.
He and several other top-tier Republican pollsters, organized by Resurgent Republic, traveled to 11 battleground states to host focus groups of independent and swing voters, mostly Democrats, who voted for President Obama in 2008 but who are now on the fence.
What they found:
The theme, said McLaughlin, is that the first family “is out of touch” with working class voters.
He added that the president’s attack on the rich and GOP presidential challenger Mitt Romney’s wealth is working, but the voters were also lumping in the president’s vacation spending in with the General Services Administration’s Las Vegas scandal and federal spending for those who aren’t looking for work.
“There really wasn’t a real dislike for Romney. It was just that he is too rich. But on the other hand there is a start of resentment of the government,” he said.
Out of touch, and championing something that an increasing number of Americans from center left to right see as the problem. Let the backlash begin.