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Tuesday, June 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Pew survey reveals stark contrast in Biden and Trump supporters’ views on government responsibilities

The two sides were split on how involved the government should be in health care and other social services such as aid to the poor.

(CN) — In the run-up to the 2024 election, U.S. President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump present starkly different visions for the size and role of government that are reflected in divisions between Democrats and Republicans, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Monday.

Pew research revealed significant contrasts in how Americans perceive government intervention, social safety nets and long-term trust in federal institutions, with stark differences among party lines and age groups.

The survey, conducted from April 8-14 among 8,709 adults, including 7,166 registered voters, highlights the polarized views on government functions between Biden and Trump supporters.

A substantial majority of Biden supporters, 74%, advocate for a larger government providing more services. In contrast, 76% of Trump supporters prefer a smaller government with fewer services.

Additionally, 76% of Biden supporters believe the government should do more to solve problems, compared to a significant portion of Trump supporters who disagree and think more should be left up to businesses and individuals.

The survey shows 80% of Biden supporters think social safety nets, such as government aid to the poor, does more good than harm, while Trump supporters largely oppose this view.

The two sides were also split on how involved the government should be in health care coverage, including programs like universal health care for all.

88% of Democrats overwhelmingly support universal health care coverage, while only 40% of Republicans support universal health care coverage. Republican support for this idea has risen, however, to 40%, an 8-point increase since 2021, according to the survey. Nationally, 65% of Americans believe the federal government should ensure health care coverage for all.

Both sides do agree on one issue, however: protecting Social Security benefits.

82% of Biden supporters and 78% of Trump supporters oppose any reductions to Social Security benefits. However, Biden supporters are more inclined than Trump supporters to expand Social Security coverage and benefits.

Pew also examined Americans’ trust in the government in the survey. Despite low trust levels in the federal government persisting for nearly two decades, there has been a modest increase in trust over the past year.

Currently, 22% of American adults express trust in the government to do what is right most of the time, up from 16% in June 2023. However, frustration remains high, as it has for several decades, with 60% of the public feeling frustrated with the federal government.

The survey also highlighted generational differences in outlooks on the nation's problem-solving capabilities.

Young adults under 30 are particularly pessimistic, with 62% doubting the nation's ability to solve important issues — the highest of any age group and a notable increase from two years ago. Overall, Americans are divided on this topic, with 52% expressing skepticism about solving major problems and 47% remaining optimistic.

These findings underscore the deep ideological divides shaping the 2024 election landscape.

As Biden and Trump vie for the presidency, their differing visions on government size, social safety nets and public trust will likely be central themes influencing voter decisions, along with their foreign policy.

Biden has said that he will continue to support Ukraine in its ongoing war against Russia if he retains the presidency, while Trump has threatened to cut aid to Ukraine if he wins the election.

Biden and Trump have run neck and neck in most presidential polls thus far, with most polls showing Biden having a minor advantage in the battleground states that are key to retaining the presidency. The pair will face off in a June 27 debate.

Trump’s campaign has been controversial — he became the first first former president convicted of felony crimes in May when a New York jury found him guilty of all 34 counts of falsifying business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election through hush money payments to a porn actor who said the two had sex. The former president is also embroiled in several other criminal cases pending in courtrooms around the country.

Categories / Government, National, Politics

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