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.
While 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.
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