Generation Gap is Key Factor in Debate over Limited Government

Most Americans (56%) prefer a government with a system of checks and balances as opposed to a smaller number of voters (44%) who would rather have a government that is efficient and can respond to quickly to issues.

Data released earlier showed similar results on a question of whether it is more important for government to protect individual freedom or focus on protecting an orderly society. Fifty-four percent (54%) prefer a focus on freedom which is consistent with a system of checks and balances.

On the question of government efficiency, there is little difference between the views of Republicans and Democrats (see question wording and crosstab results).

But there is a generation gap.

Most respondents aged 18-to-34 (56%) preferred an efficient and quickly responding government while (44%) one with checks and balances, flipping the overall numbers exactly. Full-time students, people without a high school diploma, and those making less than $75,000 per year similarly chose efficiency and speed over limited government.

Younger voters are also more likely than their elders to prefer government by policy experts over representative democracy.

These generational divides are also seen in data showing a growing appreciation for socialism among younger voters. However, most who say they have a favorable opinion of socialism do not believe it means a more powerful government and higher taxes.

The national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted August 30-31, 2018 for ScottRasmussen.com by HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.

Data released earlier showed that just 32% believe the federal government respects to right of every American to live in freedom. Only 33% believe the U.S. currently offers liberty and justice for all.

On the positive side, voters recognize that more than government is needed to create a functioning society. Seventy-one percent (71%) recognize that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have had a bigger impact on the world than all eight U.S. presidents who have served since the founding of Apple and Microsoft.

Recent releases have found that 64% believe that freedom is more important than democracy. Among the freedoms confirmed in the Bill of Rights, voters rate the freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, and freedom of religion as the most important. A separate column explained how the freedom to walk away holds politicians accountable.

Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).

Posted in Poll Results

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