A fifth of Americans say government is our nation’s biggest problem

What’s worse than inflation? The government is trying to help with inflation… or trying to help with anything, really. You know that. I know. And a lot of other Americans may know that, too. In the latest Gallup poll, more than one-fifth of respondents — 21 percent — cited government and/or poor leadership as the nation’s top problem.

When it comes to perceived problems, government and bad leadership beat out inflation (cited by 15 percent of respondents), immigration (11 percent), the economy in general (10 percent), racism/race relations (5 percent), and crime/violence (4 percent).

Viewing the government as problematic was also a bipartisan issue. Government was cited as the most important problem by 24 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independent candidates in the survey, and 18 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independent candidates.

Conservatives were more likely to talk about inflation (18 percent of conservatives vs. 11 percent of left-leaning respondents), immigration (18 percent vs. 5 percent), the economy in general (11 percent vs. 9 percent), and moral/ethical/family breakdown (5 percent vs. 2 percent). were the biggest problems.

Democrats were more likely to cite crime and violence (5 percent vs. 4 percent), national unity (8 percent vs. 3 percent), race relations (9 percent vs. 2 percent), the environment (6 percent vs. zero percent), and the gap between the rich and the poor. (4 percent versus zero percent) as the main issues of our country.

Just over 1,000 adults were included in the survey, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Overall, the percentage of people who saw government as a top problem in this latest poll rose 6 percent compared to Gallup’s November-December 2022 poll. The percentage of people citing the economy in general as a top problem fell 6 percent.

The most recent poll was conducted from Jan. 2 to Jan. 22, a period that “included a four-day, 15-vote process in which Republicans, who now hold a slim majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, eventually elected Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House,” notes Gallup . These weeks also saw “revelations of classified government documents from 2009 to 2017 found in President Joe Biden’s private office and home.”

But approval ratings for Congress (21 percent) and Biden (41 percent) remained unchanged from the previous Gallup poll late last year.

See the full survey responses (along with historical responses) here.

The government often ranks high on respondents’ list of complaints. Last August and September, between 20 and 22 percent cited the government as the main issue.


Democrats doubt Harris’ ability to win. The Washington Post airs Democrats’ concerns about Vice President Kamala Harris’s fitness as a presidential candidate:

Broader doubts about Harris, Democrats say, can be broadly divided into two categories. Some members of the party fear that Americans are simply not willing to elect a woman of color as president, especially given the racism and sexism that have emerged in recent years. Others worry that Harris herself lacks the political skills to win a national race. …

Many activists The Washington Post spoke with said they like Harris personally and would support her if she becomes the nominee, but are not convinced she has sufficiently separated herself from other potential White House candidates. In particular, several Democratic governors have emerged in recent months, from Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Gavin Newsom of California to, most recently, Wes Moore of Maryland and Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania. …

Supporters and skeptics alike say Harris has not been particularly visible, even in a business known for its low profile. Biden and Harris were tied to Washington during their first year due to restrictions due to the coronavirus. The first two years were further constrained for Harris, who held the deciding vote in an evenly divided US Senate, forcing her to stay near the capital during close votes.

But Harris’ low profile also reflects her team’s calculus — and fears — after missteps and uncertain public appearances.

More than Fast here.

Reason we recently explored similar themes in “Kamala Harris Is a Flop,” where we noted that Harris’ lackluster vice presidency created a succession problem for Democrats. Harris’ tenure as vice president also reflects the cycle of excitement and disappointment, failure to deliver on promises and expectations, and staff dysfunction seen in Harris’ previous roles, from San Francisco district attorney to 2020 presidential candidate.


President Joe Biden says he will finally declare an end to the pandemic emergency in May. “A move to end the national emergency and declare a public health emergency would formally restructure the federal response to the coronavirus to treat the virus as an endemic public health threat that can be managed through normal authorities,” notes the Associated Press. That means the administration would have to (finally) stop using COVID-19 as a justification for things like student loan forgiveness. It would also mean the end of much of the government-subsidized prevention and medical care for COVID-19:

The cost of the COVID-19 vaccine is also expected to skyrocket when the government stops buying it, with Pfizer saying it will charge as much as $130 per dose. Only 15% of Americans have received the recommended, updated booster offered since last fall.

People with private insurance may have some out-of-pocket costs for vaccines, especially if they go to an out-of-network provider, Levitt said. The end of free tests for COVID at home is also coming. And hospitals will not receive additional payments for treating COVID patients.

Lawmakers have extended for two more years telehealth flexibility that was introduced after COVID-19 hit, prompting health systems across the country to routinely deliver care via smartphone or computer.

Republicans in the House of Representatives introduced a bill that would immediately end the state of emergency. But such a measure would likely not relieve the Democratic-controlled Senate.


• The Biden administration is proposing changes to the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate and exemptions. A Trump-era change allowed employers with “religious or moral” objections to birth control to exclude it from employee health insurance coverage. The new proposal would remove “morality” from this calculus.

• More people are under fire in connection with the shooting death of Tire Nichols by Memphis police. “Two more police officers from Memphis have been disciplined, and three emergency workers have been fired,” AP reports.

• The fallout from former President Donald Trump’s payments to Stormy Daniels is reportedly still lingering (via attorney Michael Cohen). Yesterday, the Manhattan District Attorney presented evidence to a grand jury that Trump could be criminally responsible.

• The Canadian province of British Columbia “will no longer prosecute adults 18 and older who are caught with less than 2.5 grams of hard drugs, including heroin, morphine, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA,” it notes Bloomberg. “Instead, they will be offered information about social programs and treatment, if they request it. Drug trafficking will remain illegal, regardless of the amount they possess. The experiment will last three years.”

• The Chinese province of Sichuan lifts all restrictions on having children. The Health Commission announced yesterday that it would “remove restrictions on unmarried people having children and remove restrictions on the number of babies as part of a national drive to increase the country’s birth rate,” it reports Guard.

• A Cleveland couple is suing their neighbor over smoke from a backyard pizza oven. The trial started yesterday.

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