New poll finds hostility to the federal government growing

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A new poll has found that the public’s hostility to the federal government, including the Supreme Court, has grown in recent years and jumped significantly in the past six months.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 33% of Likely U.S. Voters now believe that states should have the right to ignore federal court rulings if their elected officials agree with them. That’s up nine points from 24% when we first asked this question in February. Just over half (52%) disagree, down from 58% in the earlier survey. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided. …

Support for ignoring the federal courts is up among most demographic groups, however. Most voters have long believed that the Supreme Court justices have their own political agenda, and they still tend to feel that that agenda is more liberal than conservative.

That’s just the public’s changing attitude to the Supreme Court. Overall trust in the federal government is down as well:

A plurality (47%) of voters continues to believe the federal government has too much influence over state governments, and 54% think states should have the right to opt out of federal government programs that they don’t agree with. Even more (61%) think states should have the right to opt out of federally mandated programs if the federal government doesn’t help pay for them.

The Declaration of Independence, the foundational document that Americans honor on the Fourth of July, says that governments derive their authority from the consent of the governed, but just 25% believe that to be true of the federal government today. Only 20% now consider the federal government a protector of individual liberty. Sixty percent (60%) see the government as a threat to individual liberty instead.

The more power the federal government grabs, the more the public will resist. Eventually, the federal government, and all of society, will break under this strain. The sooner the public reins in the federal government, by voting for legislators who will do that reining, the better chance we will have of avoiding that collapse.

From what I can see right now, however, I must sadly say that I am not hopeful. Since 2010 the voters have clearly made their position clear: They want the government reined in. Our society’s intellectual class, including the Republican leadership in Congress working with the congressional Democratic minority, doesn’t seem to want to listen to that message unfortunately.

Then again, this update on the growing power of the Freedom Caucus in the House suggests that the voters might finally get their way if the next election puts more conservatives in office.


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