Let’s Hear It for Government Regulation!

The current sour public mood isn’t about wanting less regulation or embracing conservative views, writes Ruy Teixeira. It’s about the poor economy.

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Conservatives love to interpret the current sour public mood as rejection of the government’s role in the economy. In reality, that public sentiment is primarily traceable to the poor economy and has little to do with an embrace of conservative ideological views on government.

Here are a couple of examples. A recent CNN poll asked the public whether it supported or opposed the new financial regulation reform bill, which it explicitly described as increasing “federal regulation over banks, Wall Street investors, and other financial institutions.” The public said it supported the new bill by a strong 58-39 margin.

Opinion poll graph

The same poll asked the public more generally whether it approved or disapproved of “government regulation of business.” The public said it did.

Opinion poll graph

Conservative claims that the public is embracing their antigovernment ideology should be taken with a grain of salt—in fact, a whole cellar full.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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