While 54% of respondents to a Gallup survey in 2020 said the government "should do more to solve problems," a great change occurred amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen an increase in government mandates. By 2021, only 43% thought the same.
"The shift toward favoring a more active government role in 2020 was seen among Democrats and independents but not Republicans — likely a response to the coronavirus pandemic and in particular to then-President Donald Trump's approach to handling it," according to the poll's analysis.
Forty-one percent of those questioned in the poll in 2020 said the government was "trying to do too many things," while 52% said as much in 2021.
In a breakdown by party, 74% of Republicans said the government was "trying to do too many things" in 2020, while 80% said the same in 2021. For Democrats, 13% thought as much in 2020, with 18% saying the same in 2021. Again, independents marked the most significant change, with 38% saying the government was doing too much in 2020 and 57% in 2021.
Regarding whether the government should be doing more, 22% of Republicans said it should in 2020, while 15% said the same in 2021.
Democrats moved from 83% in 2020 to 78% in 2021. Fifty-six percent of independents said it should be doing more in 2020, decreasing to 38% in 2021.
The Gallup survey was carried between Sept. 1 and 17 among 1,005 adults and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.
Americans' preference for a limited government role is also apparent as they were asked to weigh the trade-offs between taxes and government services. Given a selection, half of Americans say they prefer fewer government services and lower taxes, while 19% want higher taxes and more services. Twenty-nine percent want taxes and services as they are now.
In the five times Gallup has studied this issue since 1993, the preference for lower taxes and fewer services has consistently predominated, held either by pluralities or majorities of Americans, including a high of 56% in 2011. Only as many as 25%, in 2019, have said they wanted higher taxes and more services.