The other 44% didn’t understand the question

Is the vast maze of U.S. law and regulation, and the intricately interwoven web of bureaucratic and departmental turf, and the insidiously spreading take-to-give addiction of our elected leaders an “imminent” threat to American liberty?

Most of us say yes. The next question is: do enough of us think that? Or too many of us?

Washington (CNN) — A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government’s become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.

The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans.

Only 37% of Democrats? They realize, right, that Congress just re-approved the PATRIOT Act?

What would those numbers have been during the Bush administration, I wonder?

Ed Morrissey is a little bit scandalized:

Well … yeah. In fact, 56% seems pretty low to me. The entire reason that the founders wrote the Constitution was to keep a powerful federal government from encroaching on the rights of the states and the individual citizens of the US. If that wasn’t explicitly obvious from the actual text of the document, then the prolific discourse left by the founders in the Federalist Papers and elsewhere makes that point over and over again.

This shouldn’t be a surprise; it should be basic civics.

Agreed, although we should note: that fifty-six percent “think the federal government’s become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.”

So: things might depend on how you interpret the phrase “immediate threat.” I’m willing to bet the numbers would be…well, not reversed, maybe, but at least softened if this poll had been taken during the Bush administration.

But: it wasn’t taken during the Bush administration. I wonder why CNN thought to ask that question now?

(Cross-posted at The TrogloPundit)

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