A recent Pew research poll found a shockingly high number of Americans believe the government is their enemy. More than 1 in 4, or 27% answered as such in the survey released last month.
Pew Research Center found that 27 percent of registered voters say they think of government as an enemy, up 8 points since 1996. The latest poll looked at general public opinion regarding the federal government.
The findings suggests that 57 percent of voters feel frustrated with the government, while 22 percent feel angry and 18 percent feel “basically content.”
Asked to place themselves on a scale from 1 to 10 “where ‘1’ means you think the federal government is your enemy and ‘10’ means you think the federal government is your friend,” 27% of registered voters say they think of government as an enemy (1-4), up 8 points since 1996. The share of voters who place themselves in the middle of the scale (5-6) has declined from 44% to 39%. A third (33%) currently say they view the government as a friend (7-10), little changed from 36% in 1996.
Today, 35% of Republican voters view the federal government as an enemy, up from 22% in 1996. Similarly, 34% of independents take this view, a 13-point increase from 19 years ago.1
In 1996, Republicans were somewhat more likely to view the government as a friend (34%) than as an enemy (22%). Today, that balance of opinion is reversed: 21% say they see it as a friend, while 35% see it as an enemy.
Half of all Democrats (50%) see the government as a friend; only 12% see the government as an enemy. These views are similar to opinions among Democrats in 1996.
The way the question is phrased and the subjective nature of the answer could leave room for interpretation. It is unlikely 27% are ready to take up arms against the government and more likely that the deep seated American attitude of distrust and resentment of government power is reflected in the poll.