As Voters See Threat of Big Government, Ron Paul Rides Wave in Iowa
Around the State
A new poll showing near-record high distrust of big government spells trouble for the Democratic Party and is fueling Ron Paul's insurgent Republican campaign.
The Gallup Poll reported that 64 percent of respondents said "big government" was the biggest threat to the country. Just 26 percent cited "big business," in spite of, or in reaction to, the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests.
The rising distrust of big government is a cautionary sign for President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, if not an outright rebuke.
Some 64 percent of self-described independents -- voters who swung heavily for Obama in 2008 -- now call big government the biggest threat to the nation. Surprisingly, a near-majority of Democrats, 48 percent, agreed.
Among Republicans, 82 percent listed big government as their chief concern.
Most sobering for Obama, the level of distrust among Democrats is up 50 percent since 2009, when he took office.
Rising concern about big government comes as libertarian-leaning GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul gains new ground in the polls.
The Texas congressman stands out in the Republican field for his sharply small-government views, which include abolishing the Federal Reserve, shutting down five Cabinet departments and slashing federal spending by more than $1 trillion in a year.
Paul, a former Air Force physician, also has called for bringing U.S. troops home from overseas, and less American interventionism around the world.
Despite being marginalized by the mainstream media, Paul has caught fire in Iowa, which caucuses on Jan. 3. A Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday showed him running a single point behind Newt Gingrich, 22 percent to 21 percent. The poll had Mitt Romney third at 16 percent.
"The polls are starting to accurately reflect what's going on," said Alex Snitker, who ran for U.S. Senate on the Libertarian Party ticket in Florida last year.
"There used to be a complete dismissing of Ron Paul. Now, that's gone," he said.
Snitker, who said he switched his party registration to Republican, has been working at a Clearwater call center making phone calls to Iowa for Paul.
"We've been getting a steady 30 percent of the people saying they will vote for Paul," he reported.
Paul's campaign released a video this week portraying Gingrich as a Washington insider who became a multimillionaire while "selling access" in Congress.
Romney is anathema to many on the right for his Massachusetts health-care program, which became a model for Obamacare.
Some conservatives, notably presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, have taken to conflating the two as "Newt Romney" for their similar policy positions.
Contact Kenric Ward at email@example.com or (772) 801-5341.