Nearly eight in 10 American voters (78 percent) say they think government spending is out of control, while 14 percent say it is being managed carefully. The poll also finds 59 percent of voters say they do not trust the federal government, an increase of 5 percentage points from a year ago, and up a striking 23 points since 2002.
A Fox News poll released Friday shows the number of voters who say they believe government spending is out of control increased 16 points, up from 62 percent in April 2009 to 78 percent now. A sizable majority of Democrats (61 percent) call current spending out of control, as do virtually all Republicans (95 percent) and most independents (82 percent).
In addition, 81 percent of voters say they are fed up with the growing federal deficit, and 73 percent say they're tired and fed up with government spending.
In June 2002, 54 percent said they trusted the federal government. A year ago, 54 percent said they didn't. The decline in trust continues. Some 37 percent say they trust the government in this poll, while 59 percent don't.
In the last year, the number saying they don't trust the government increased by 1 point among Democrats, 7 points among Republicans and 8 points for independents.
The lack of trust could explain voters' expectations for the president's new bipartisan deficit commission, which aims to get both political parties to work together to balance the budget by 2015. About three times as many voters think the commission is unlikely to succeed (73 percent) as think it will be successful (26 percent).
By a 23-point margin, more voters say they want a smaller government that provides fewer services (58 percent) than a bigger government that provides more services (35 percent). The portion wanting smaller government has gone up 8 points since April.
On the other hand, most voters say they think President Obama believes in bigger government (75 percent), essentially unchanged from last year (77 percent in March 2009).
On the one-year anniversary of the federal stimulus program, the president stated it helped the country avoid a depression. Voters aren't as convinced: 44 percent agree and 51 percent disagree.
There is a wide partisan gap on this issue: Most Democrats agree with the president (71 percent), yet even more Republicans disagree (78 percent). More independents disagree (49 percent) than agree (44 percent).
There's more agreement on what to do with the unspent stimulus funds. With only about one-third of the money spent so far, 59 percent of voters say they think the rest of the stimulus should be canceled and the money used to reduce the deficit, while 31 percent say it should be spent as planned.
By a 16-percentage-point margin, more voters say they disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy, marking a new low. A 56 percent majority disapproves, up from 52 percent in December. He receives similar ratings on job creation, as 41 percent say they approve and 52 percent disapprove.
The president's overall job rating stands at 47 percent approval and 45 percent disapproval.
Earlier this month the president received his lowest job ratings to date when 46 percent approved and 47 percent disapproved (Feb. 2-3, 2009).
The national telephone poll was conducted for Fox News by Opinion Dynamics Corp. among 900 registered voters from Feb. 23 to Feb. 24. For the total sample, the poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Planning for the Worst
To gauge voters' concern over how bad the economy could actually get, the poll asked about a number of actions some people have taken to prepare for a system-wide breakdown. One voter in five (20 percent) has taken money out of the stock market, and 18 percent have stocked up on food, water and other staples out of concern the nation's economy could collapse. About one in 10 (11 percent) has purchased a gun or ammunition for protection and 6 percent have purchased gold.
Overall, 39 percent of American voters have taken at least one of these actions.