Most Americans Favor Business Over Government
With a gradually improving economy, a majority of Americans are feeling positive toward businesses — both large and small — but remain unhappy with the federal government, which many consider wasteful and inefficient. State governments score better than Washington, but both fall short of the private sector.
Three in five Americans (60%) have a very favorable or somewhat favorable view of major companies, according to the 2013 Public Affairs Pulse survey, while just 41 percent have a favorable view of the federal government. Small businesses get the highest marks, at 87 percent.
At the same time, nearly 55 percent of Americans express a lot or some trust and confidence that major companies will do the right thing, while 44 percent express not too much or no such trust and confidence. In contrast, on another question, only 37 percent of the public express a lot or some trust and confidence that the federal government will solve the most important problems facing the country. Sixty-two percent say they have not too much or no confidence in the government’s ability to achieve these goals.
Consequently, a majority of Americans think major companies should take on more responsibility to help solve problems that have traditionally been the responsibility of government, such as providing community services like food banks (70%), improving the quality of education (64%) and improving the quality and affordability of health care (62%).
Yet while the majority of the public has an unfavorable view of the federal government, Millennials and minority group members have a much more positive opinion of Washington.
Fifty-one percent of Millennials (ages 18-32) give the federal government favorable scores, compared with only 44 percent of Gen X-ers, 35 percent of Baby Boomers and 34 percent of Matures (ages 68 and up).
And while more than three in five white Americans hold unfavorable views of the federal government (34% favorable-64% unfavorable), African-Americans and Hispanic Americans hold strongly positive views (60% favorable to 38% unfavorable and 62% favorable to 33% unfavorable, respectively).