Reeling from the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, politicians and candidates alike seemed to think everyone agreed that government needed to do something to combat the crisis. Now in 2011 the Reason-Rupe poll asked Americans what concerned them more—that government would fail to take action or that the government would take action but in so doing make things even worse. In response, a majority of Americans said they fear that government action will make things worse, rather than better, while 40 percent said they are afraid that the government will fail to take action.
This lack of confidence in government's ability, or even capability, is reflected in Congress' low approval rating of just 13 percent. Confidence in President Barack Obama is roughly split, with 49 percent approving of his performance and 47 percent disapproving.
In terms of the government's handling of the nation's current economic problems, what worries you more; that the federal government will take action that makes things worse, or the federal government will fail to take action?
Find full Reason-Rupe Q4 2011 poll results, question wording, and methodology here.
The Reason-Rupe Q4 2011 poll collected a nationally representative sample of 1200 respondents, aged 18 and older from all 50 states and the District of Columbia using live telephone interviews from December 1-13. Interviews were conducted on both landline and mobile phones. The margin of sampling error for this poll is +/- 3 percent.
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