Americans See Many Entities as Too Powerful

April 11, 2011

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Brand Metrics | Data-driven | Government & Politics

gallup-perceived-power-societal-entities-apr11.gifLobbyists, major corporations, banks, and the federal government all have too much power, according to a majority of respondents to a recent Gallup poll. By contrast, the public largely believes state and local governments, the legal system, organized religion, and the military each have the right amount of power or too little power.

Labor unions elicit mixed responses, with the plurality saying they have too much power, but a combined slim majority saying their power is about right or lacking.

7 in 10 Say Lobbyists Too Strong

Lobbyists who represent special interests to federal and state governments are seen as too powerful by seven in 10 (71%) Americans, making the lobbying industry the entity most Americans think has too much power. Closely following are major corporations and banks/financial institutions (67%), with the federal government (58%) being the only other entity more than half of Americans see as too powerful.

Union Response is Varied

There does not appear to be a consistent view of the power held by labor unions. The largest percentage of respondents (43%) says they have too much power, but a combined 57% majority says the amount of power unions hold is about right (28%) or not enough (24%).

Interestingly, the lowest percentage of respondents (14%) says the military has too much power. Fifty-three percent of respondents say the military has the right amount of power and 28% say it doesn’t have enough power, making the military the entity the most Americans see as not being powerful enough.

Unions, Feds, Religion, Military Divide Right and Left

gallup-institutions-party-id-apr-2011.JPGLooking at differences in opinion between Republicans and Democrats, survey results show 69% of Republicans and 20% of Democrats say labor unions have too much power. This 49% differential is the largest party-based difference of opinion, followed by a 41% differential between the percentage of Republicans (75%) and Democrats (34%) who say the federal government has too much power.

Conversely, 34% of Democrats but 12% of Republicans say organized religion has too much power. In addition, 22% of Democrats but only 5% of Republicans say the military has too much power.

Pew: Union, Business Favorability Near Record Low

US favorability ratings for labor unions remain at nearly their lowest level in a quarter century with 45% expressing a positive view, according to new data from the Pew Research Center. Yet the public expresses similar opinions about business corporations, with 47% having a favorable impression, and this rating is also near a historic low.

About the Data: Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted March 25-27, 2011, with a random sample of 1,027 adults, aged 18 and older, living in the continental U.S., selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

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