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The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. —THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1788

Poll finds majority see fed gov’t as threat to their liberty

chart pewA poll released on Jan. 31 by the Pew Research Center marks another first for President Obama. The survey indicates that the majority of Americans, seemingly for the first time, view the federal government as a threat to their personal rights.

Researchers found that 53 percent think that the federal government threatens their liberties and freedomsm as opposed to 43 percent who do not. The previous high (albeit marginally) also occurred during Obama’s tenure, in 2010, when 47 percent expressed fears over government’s reach versus 50 percent who did not.

The good — or maybe it’s the better — news for the president is the change is largely a reflection of a shift among conservative Republicans, 76 percent of whom perceive a threat. In contrast, a mere 38 percent of Democrats worry that the government is out of control. It’s hard to see how that’s a total positive for a president who once advertised himself as the harbinger of post-partisanship.

Not only that, but 55 percent of self-described independents also harbor fears of the government’s omnipotence.

In writing about the poll, Ed Morrissey cracks wise, asking:

Why would Americans increasingly believe that [the government is infringing on their liberties]? It’s not as if the federal government has forced them to buy insurance for the privilege of breathing, threatened to grab their firearms, or imposed a new and restrictive definition of ‘free expression’ of religion.

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Howard Portnoy has written for HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, and The George Espenlaub Show.

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