The majority of Americans are fed up with the size of corporations and how powerful they have become, a recent poll shows. However, slightly more than half want to see less regulation.
A Jan. 20 poll released by Gallup reported that 63 percent of U.S. adults are unsatisfied with the size of corporate reach and power. Only 35 percent responded that they were satisfied.
Gallup began polling the question in 2001, when 48 percent of U.S. adults said they were content with the level of corporate influence in the country. That relatively even level of satisfaction would degrade over the next decade, bottoming out to just 29 percent in 2011.
The follow-up question for the Gallup survey was whether or not respondents were satisfied with the level of government regulation on business. Again, the data shows overwhelming frustration, with just 32 percent of Americans reporting satisfaction while 55 percent voiced dissatisfaction.
Twenty-five percent of those dissatisfied with the regulation said they want regulation to be decreased while 20 percent said they want an increase. The tilt towards deregulation is largely influenced by self-identifying Republican respondents, with only 9 percent wanting new regulation.
The Gallup survey observed that American opinion tends to pivot away from the policies of the U.S. President. If U.S. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, were to be succeeded by a Republican, the data pattern would likely shift back to more Americans hungry for regulation.
The poll was part of a comprehensive survey to get a feel for the current mood of the American public. Tellingly, the topic that respondents were most negative on was the U.S. campaign finance laws, with only 20 percent satisfied and 54 percent dissatisfied.
With corporations able to influence government policy with unlimited campaign donations, it is a small wonder that Americans are unhappy with their influence.
This dissatisfaction with corporate power has impacted the 2016 presidential race, particularly in regards to Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and GOP candidate Donald Trump.
A key part of Sanders’ campaign platform is to curb corporate influence by reforming campaign finance law and imposing new regulations. The senator’s main refrain is that the public must stand up against corporate power.
“You, and millions of other people, need to come together,” Sanders told a crowd during a Jan. 27 campaign stop in Duluth, Minnesota, according to Star Tribune. “You need to say loud and clear that when so many men and women fought and died to save our country, that we the people are going to have a government that represent us, not just a handful of billionaires.”
The Vermont senator concluded that “today in America, we have a rigged economy.”
Meanwhile, part of the appeal of Trump among his supporters is that he cannot be bought by corporate money — he’s already a billionaire. While much of his policy proposals remain vague, his main pitch to voters is that he would create great prosperity, largely through placing visa restrictions on immigrants coming to the U.S. for work and giving manufacturers incentive to hire American workers instead of exporting jobs overseas.