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Record number of Americans view big government as threat, poll finds

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A new Gallup poll, the results of which were released on Wednesday, shows that a majority of Americans believe that big government is a threat to the country.

Conducted between Dec. 5-8, participants were asked, "In your opinion, which of the following will be the biggest threat to the country in the future -- big business, big labor, or big government?"

An overwhelming 72 percent said big government.

The number of people who said big government is a bigger threat than the other two options is the highest that Gallup has recorded for this question in 50 years, beating the old high from 1999 and 2000 of 65 percent.

The distrust of big government is split by party line, with 92 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Independents holding this view. Only 56 percent of Democrats answered this way, though these three numbers are all record highs for this question.

Only 21 percent of all respondents said that big business is the bigger threat, and five percent said big labor.

Though Americans have always been skeptical of big government, the distrust has grown rapidly in the last few years, as Gallup has found in past polls.

“Gallup has documented a steady increase in concern about big government since 2009, rising from 55% in March 2009 to 64% in November 2011 and 72% today. This suggests that government policies specific to the period, such as the Affordable Care Act -- perhaps coupled with recent revelations of government spying tactics by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden -- may be factors,” writes Jeffrey M. Jones for the polling group.

The Gallup poll reflects what previous polls over the last year have found in regards to approval numbers for both the president and Congress.

Obama's approval has been consistently dropping over the course of 2013. Several recent polls place his approval numbers at record lows, with one of the latest, from Washngton Post-ABC News, placing it at 43 percent, though others have placed it even lower, in the upper 30s.

Congress, though, is also unpopular, even more so than the president, with a record low nine percent approval rating last month.

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