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Attitudes About the Federal Government: Major Trends

April 15, 2022

In 2008, AEI released a comprehensive Public Opinion Study on attitudes about the federal government from the earliest days of polling. This new study updates some of the major trends that appeared in the 2008 report. Today, because pollsters are less focused on updating old trends, many important questions in the earlier compilation have not been updated.Key PointsWhile the public is ambivalent about government, Americans generally favor a smaller government than a larger one. When taxes are included in the question wording, Americans favor smaller government more strongly.In the early days of COVID-19, many Americans said they wanted the government to do more.At the turn of the century, when the economy was performing well, around 10 percent said they were angry with the way the federal government works. Since 2010, two in 10 or more have given that response.Pollsters should regularly revisit public views about government's role, size, and responsibilities and public levels of satisfaction with it.

The Exit Polls: A History and Trends Over Time, 1972–2020

January 11, 2022

This study looks at how key demographic groups have voted over time. This compilation covers 13 presidential elections, and it will be invaluable for scholars, journalists, and others interested in how voting patterns have changed over time. To complement the data, the editors interviewed Joe Lenski (cofounder and executive vice president of Edison Research), who has been involved with the national exit poll since 1988 and who now, with a small army, conducts the exit poll for the four networks called the National Election Pool. Karlyn Bowman and Samantha Goldstein conducted the interview in June 2021. The interview has been edited for clarity.

AEI Political Report: Election 2018 preview

May 30, 2018

In the June issue of AEI's Political Report, we look at early 2018 polls ahead of this year's congressional elections and how they relate to polls in previous midterms. We also use exit polls to see how key groups voted in past off-year elections.