A near-record high rate of Americans is concerned about the threat of big government, according to a recent Gallup Poll, trumping worries over big business and big labor. While not a specific political barometer, the results offer a good temperature reading of the nation's mood -- and it could spell trouble for Democrats in 2012.
When asked, In your opinion, which of the following will be the biggest threat to the country in the future -- big business, big labor, or big government? 64 percent responded big government, 26 percent said big business and 8 percent fear labor.
The results seem to validate points about Occupy Wall Street's ineffectiveness in building anti-big business sentiment. The increasing distrust of government follows an upward trend that began in 2008, mirroring the Tea Party's rise.
The distrust rate is 1 percentage point short of a high set in 2000, while business and labor approach lows not seen since the late 1990s.
Big government has always been most worrisome for Americans, since the poll began in 1965, but the margin between big brother and the rest has rarely been as high. Big business came close to eclipsing the government as a problem in 2002, when the Enron and WorldCom scandals first broke. Worries about big labor have apparently reached and decidedly stayed in the basement for the better part of a decade.
Split along party lines, 82 percent of Republicans say big government is a big problem, with 48 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Independents agreeing.
The results could spell trouble for President Barack Obama and Democrats in next year's election.