September 30th, 2013
Do you ever feel like your beliefs are out of step with the rest of the nation?
Because of intense media bias, it’s hard to imagine the tea party movement represents the opinion of the vast majority of the American people. Fortunately, though the media and politicians pretend otherwise, our beliefs are actually the predominant beliefs of the land.
Sixty percent of Americans now believe that government has “too much power.” Only 32% believe that it has “the right amount.” (Gallup – 9/23/13) At the beginning of the tea party movement in 2009, the number of people who believed the government was “too powerful” was 50% and “just right” was 42%.
This polling reflects the fundamental premise of the tea party movement; the government is too big, too powerful, and cannot be trusted. What the media and politicians present as the opinion of the “radical” and “fringe” tea party, actually reflects the belief of a large majority of the American public. It would more accurately be described as “common sense.”
Remember: currently only 22% of Americans consider themselves to be Republican and 31% consider themselves to be Democrats. Independents come in at an astounding 45%. Based on those numbers, apparently an awful lot of people who do not self identify as Republicans also think the government is “too powerful.”
That’s great news! These numbers indicate a profound distrust of big government by the American people. This distrust is not limited to any particular party, politician or ideology. Instead, this is a philosophy firmly rooted at the core of our national consciousness. A deeper look at the numbers shows us the further away government resides from the people, the less it’s trusted.
Only 42% of Americans say they trust the federal government – an all time low
We now express historically low levels of confidence in the federal government’s ability to handle domestic problems, with 42% reporting a great deal or a fair amount of confidence. This is one point below the previous low of 43% in 2011.
Again, an inherent distrust of the large federal government is fundamental tea party value. Whether Americans “identify” with the tea party or not, tea party values and ideas about the size and scope of the federal government now reign supreme with general public. Even if the media and politicians have had an impact on the public perception of the tea party itself, our ideas are growing in popularity.
Americans inherently trust local government. Interestingly, this same governmental distrust does not apply to local governments. Americans’ trust in their state and local governments has increased this year, with 74% expressing a great deal or fair amount of trust in local government and 65% in state government. Trust in state government has now essentially returned to levels seen before the financial crisis, after falling to as low as 51% in 2009.
This polling reflects support for an important underlying premise of tea party thinking: a strong belief in local self-governance. Contrary to portrayals by politicians such as Sen. Harry Reid, tea partiers are not “anarchists,” but instead believe in the same values of the vast majority of Americans. We believe we should govern ourselves, close to home.
Government, especially the too-large, too-powerful federal government, is out of touch with the American people. Americans want a federal government that is smaller, and much less powerful in our lives than it is today. When asked the important question, “who decides,” the vast majority of Americans answer, “we do.”
Or at least, “we should.”
Politicians, take note: if you ignore the will of the American people, you will eventually pay the political price. The American people are clear in poll after poll: tea party values are American values.