Fox News poll: Nearly two-thirds of voters say government is the problem

By nearly three-to-one, American voters see government as the problem as opposed to the solution in today’s economy.  Meanwhile, a majority believes President Obama’s policies are expanding the government.

A Fox News poll released Wednesday shows that 55 percent of voters believe Obama’s policies are making the government “bigger and more expensive.”  That’s more than five times as many as say “smaller and less expensive” (10 percent).  Another 28 percent say Obama’s policies haven’t changed the size of government.

Most Republicans (88 percent), a majority of independents (55 percent) and a quarter of Democrats (25 percent) say Obama is increasing the size of government.

The poll asks voters which phrase best describes their view of the government’s role in the economy given current economic problems.  About one in four says “government is the solution to the problem” (23 percent).   Sixty-four percent say “government is the problem.”

Fully 75 percent of voters think Americans rely too much on the government, and another 29 percent think most Americans would prefer living off the government than working for a living.  When asked about themselves as opposed to others, just five percent say they would rather live off the government than work for a paycheck.

By a 12 percentage-point margin, more voters say the Obama administration has made the economy worse (49 percent) rather than better (37 percent).  That’s a backslide from March, when slightly more voters said the White House was making the economy better (44 percent) rather than worse (42 percent).

In addition, 72 percent of voters think it is a “bad idea” to raise taxes in an economic downturn.  That’s up from 63 percent who felt that way a year ago (July 2011).  The high was 80 percent “bad idea” in August 2009.

At the same time, by a 10-point margin voters are more likely to support than oppose tax increases on high-income earners.  Most Democrats (75 percent) and independents (62 percent) support tax increases on wealthy Americans, while most Republicans oppose the idea (71 percent).

President Obama has proposed stopping the Bush tax cuts for families earning $250,000 or more annually.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 901 randomly-chosen registered voters nationwide and is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from July 15 to July 17.  For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.