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40% Recognize That Most Americans See Government As the Problem, 46% Say That’s Mostly a Conservative View

There are certain statements that politicians and those in the political arena make every day as if they are things that everyone agrees on. The problem is, in many cases, people don’t agree on them – or do they?

Rasmussen Reports has decided to find out in surveys over the coming months. In each case, we’ll read Likely U.S. Voters a policy position, and then we’ll ask if that position is held mostly by conservatives, mostly by liberals, if the view is shared by most Americans or if hardly anybody believes it.

Ronald Reagan famously declared in his first inaugural address in January 1981 that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Forty-six percent (46%) of Likely U.S. Voters tell us in a new national telephone survey that that policy position is held mostly by conservatives and 40% say Reagan’s view is shared by most Americans. 

Only three percent (3%) think hardly anybody believes the late president was right and 5% say it’s mostly a liberal view. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Earlier surveys show that, in fact, most Americans agree with Reagan’s view. In several surveys since October 2008, 56% to 59% of all Likely Voters have agreed that government is the problem, not the solution. 

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on March 18-19, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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