Joe Biden, as I've written before, is a radical president. Especially when it comes to the role government can and should play in the lives of everyday Americans.
Biden's policy agenda -- from the $1 trillion "hard" infrastructure bill to the as-yet-unpriced social safety net package -- would, if passed, fundamentally alter the relationship we have with government.
In short: The era of small government (such as it ever existed) would be over. The era of expansive government would begin.
Except that a majority of Americans don't want more government in their lives, according to new data from Gallup.
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In the poll, just 43% said they wanted government to "do more to solve the country's problems," while 54% said they thought that government "is doing too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses."
That's a MAJOR shift in public opinion from where we were just one year ago, when 54% -- a record high in Gallup polling -- said they wanted government to do more to solve the country's problems.
That reaction, quite clearly, was the result of the Covid-19 pandemic -- and a general desire for the federal government to do whatever it could to get the country through the worst of it.
As Gallup's Jeffrey M. Jones notes:
"Last year marked only the second time in Gallup's 29-year trend that at least half of Americans endorsed an active role for the government on this item. The other pro-government response came in the weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks amid heightened concern about terrorism and a surge in trust in government."
With the virus -- finally -- appearing to recede after the latest wave caused by the Delta variant, people have returned to their past desire to have government in their lives less rather than more.
Much of the shift from 2020 to 2021 comes among independents. In 2020, 56% of unaffiliated voters said they wanted the government to do more to solve the problems facing the country. This year? Just 38% said the same.
That swing away from more government involvement -- especially among independents -- has to be a major concern for Biden and his party as they a) work to push through these two giant pieces of government-growing legislation and b) seek to hold their House and Senate majorities in November 2022.