Caution! Too much government control and spending is not what Americans want.

There has been a lot of noise recently from critics of the Republican Party, saying the Party has no clear message, or that it’s not in touch with what voters want. But our latest NBC/WSJ poll* suggests that in fact Republicans are in sync with the public when they express fears that Obama and Democrats in Congress are overreaching and spending too much.

The public clearly expresses its disapproval of the recent creation of Government Motors. By 56% to 35% Americans tell us they oppose the decision President Obama made to provide financial aid to GM. And, a majority (55%) say the federal government owning 60% of the company is the “wrong approach because it sets a bad example of the government getting too involved in the management of private companies, which goes against free market principles.”

But it’s not the GM situation alone that has people worried. This poll shows the public is concerned about the overreach of government in general. Seven-in-ten (69%) Americans say they are concerned about the federal government taking a greater role in GM, limiting levels of executive compensation, and the role it would play in a new health care system, with almost half (49%) saying they are “very concerned.”

If you’re wondering whether there’s the usual partisan division on this point, sure, Republicans express the most concern (88%), but 73% of Independents express anxiety, and even a majority of Democrats and President Obama’s core supporters say they are concerned (53% and 50% respectively).

There is also real concern the government may be spending too much. Just about one-third (35%) say the President and Congress should “worry more about boosting the economy even if it may mean larger deficits now and in the future” compared to 58% who say they should “worry more about keeping the deficit down even if it may mean it will take longer for the economy to recover.” This is an especially powerful result when you consider that most Americans (54%) still consider the economy and jobs to be the most important issue that needs to be addressed.

This compelling data suggests Republicans should keep driving their point home, cautioning against too much Uncle Sam in our lives, and offering alternative solutions for Americans.


 *National survey of 1,008 adults conducted June 12-14, 2009
(Public Opinion Strategies partners with Peter D. Hart Research Associates to conduct the NBC/WSJ polls. Neither Peter D. Hart Research Associates nor NBC/WSJ are responsible for these conclusions.)



Public Opinion Strategies