Ahead of President Joe Biden’s speech before Congress on Wednesday, where he is expected to lay out parts of his legislative agenda, recent polling data indicates Americans’ support for smaller government is at the lowest level in nearly 30 years.
In an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday, 48% of respondents said they favor a smaller government with fewer services, the lowest percent recorded in polls dating back to 1984. It was also the first time that a majority of respondents did not support a smaller government since 1992.
Among those polled, 45% of respondents said they favor a larger government with more services. The three-point difference between supporters of smaller and larger government is the smallest margin recorded in ABC News/Washington Post polling.
An American Enterprise Institute report published April 21 similarly found an upward trend of Americans who believe the government should do more. The report aggregated polling data on Americans’ views about government from Gallup, the Pew Research Center and CBS News. (RELATED: Bad News For So-Called ‘Small Government Conservatives’: The People Overwhelmingly Want More)
The results come as federal spending increased considerably to around $6.5 trillion last year, largely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden and a Democratic-led Congress could potentially oversee $5 trillion in additional spending, according to Axios.
The president signed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill into law in early March. He also introduced a roughly $2 trillion infrastructure plan later that month, which faces opposition from Republican lawmakers over its cost and proposed tax hikes.
Biden is also expected to unveil his “American Families Plan” during his Wednesday evening speech before Congress. The roughly $1.5 trillion spending proposal includes free Pre-K schooling and community college, a child tax credit expansion and a national paid leave program.
But the ABC News/Washington Post poll also found a majority of Americans were concerned that Biden will do too much to increase the size and role of government in American society.
Among those polled, 53% of respondents said they were “somewhat” or “very” concerned that Biden will do too much to increase the government’s size and role. On the other hand, 45% of respondents said they were “not so” or “not at all” concerned.