The Gallup organization polled Americans across the partisan divide, and ranging in age from pimply and arrogant to wrinkly and bitter, about their opinions of various sectors of American society. When it comes to the federal government, it's probably no surprise that starry-eyed youth and White House-haunting Democrats had the most affectionate sentiments. What is surprising is that the sort of affection they show is less akin to a passionate embrace and more like, "it's not you, really, it's me. We're just not working out." That's right, even among the young and the Democratic, warm feelings for the federal government are hard to find.
Writing for Gallup, Frank Newport points to philosophical differences about the role of government as well as the simple joy of possession as explanations for the 26-point fifference in positive feelings about the federal government between Republicans and Democrats.
Democrats' more positive ratings of the federal government could be due, in part, to the basic partisan differences in views of the role government should play, although they also reflect the fact that a Democrat is now president. By comparison, Republicans were more positive than Democrats in their rating of the federal government in 2008, when George W. Bush was in the White House
It's undoubtedly true that members of the two major parties, by and large, feel better about the coercive hand of the state when they think they control it. But the fact is, only 39 percent of Democrats can summon warm and fuzzies when they think of the behemoth on the banks of the Potomac.
Likewise, writes Newport, "Young people are more likely to identify as Democrats than those who are older, which may help explain younger Americans' more positive view of the federal government." But da yutes shine in their embrace of the state only by comparison, with the other age groups essentially poised to set it on fire only so they can stamp it out. Even 50-to-64-year-old baby boomers are less thrilled about the feds than are 18-to-29-year-old millennials, who give the federal government a whopping 31 percent positive rating.
The different views of business sectors by partisanship and age are also worth a gander, since they describe interesting cultural schisms and suggest potential policy implications. "For example," writes Newport, "Democrats' more negative view of the oil and gas industry could influence Democratic officials' decisions on funding alternative energy sources." Basically, in a heavily regulated and corporatist age, government has the potential to reward and punish business sectors for ideological reasons, or simply to win the backing of voting factions for politicians who hold power.
Find the full results here.