According to a new Pew Research poll, Americans are increasingly worried about the federal government violating their rights. The survey, conducted January 9-13, showed that 53 percent of Americans believe that the federal government “threatens their own personal rights and freedoms,” with 43 percent disagreeing. That is a significant uptick from March 2010, when just 47 percent said that the government threatened their freedom, with 50 percent disagreeing.
Republicans are largely responsible for that increase; 76 percent of Republicans say that the federal government threatens freedoms, and 54 percent said the federal government was a “major” threat. That was up from 62 percent and 47 percent, respectively.
Independents agree with Republicans; 55 percent say the government represents a threat, and 33 percent say it represents a major threat.
Amazingly, minorities trust the government more than whites do; just 20 percent of whites trust the government to do the right thing always or most of the time, but 38 percent of blacks and 44 percent of Hispanics do.
Just 26 percent of those polled say that Washington will do the right thing always or the majority of the time.
But while President Obama continues to complain about the governmental system, stating that it makes for gridlock, the American people think that the problem lies with their legislators. A full 56 percent of those polled say that the governmental system can work; just 32 percent say that lawmakers are trying to do the right thing, but are hamstrung by the system.
Overall, Americans know that the Constitution still works. And they still believe that government is the greatest threat to their rights. As the Obama administration expands the size and scope of government, so too do they expand the threat to those rights.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).