Americans believe there is an unequal division of power among various political groups, financial companies and other powerful organizations, according to results from Gallup poll released this Monday. Many are concerned about the amount of power lobbyists, major corporations, banks and the federal government wield and at the lack of power segments like state and local governments, the legal system, organization religion and the military have.
The poll, conducted between March 25 and 27, showed that lobbyist topped the list of societal groups an overwhelming majority of Americans perceive as having too much power, while the military placed at the bottom of the list. None of the 10 groups ranked in Gallup’s poll were perceived by Americans to have too little power, though roughly one in four Americans believe that labor unions, organized religion and the military have less power than other groups ranked.
|Societal Group||Too Much (%)||About Right (%)||Not Enough (%)|
|Banks and financial institutions||67%||23%||8%|
|The federal government||58%||30%||9%|
|The courts, legal system and judges||34%||49%||14%|
|Organized religion and churches||25%||46%||24%|
|The municipal or local government where you live||22%||53%||21%|
According to OpenSecrets.org, lobbyists spent $3.49 billion in 2010—more than twice than the $1.44 billion they spent in 1998 and the largest amount of funds spent in that 12 year period. The top spending lobby organization in 2010 was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the country’s largest business federation representing over 3 million members. And, all that lobbying seems to have paid off for General Electric, who was the third largest spender in 2010 after its shelled out roughly $39.3 million in contributions. The conglomerate apparently paid $0 in federal taxes last year despite taking in $5.1 billion in profits in the United States alone, according to Bankrupting America.
Lobbyists for U.S. commercial bank gave a total of $56.8 million in 2010, while the largest lobbyists in the industry included the American Bankers Association ($7.5 billion), JP Morgan Chase & Co. ($7.4 million), Wells Fargo ($5.4 million) and Citigroup Inc. ($5.4 million).
Party lines played a huge role in influencing how Americans view the power of both labor unions and the federal government, with Republicans being twice as likely as Democrats to say the federal government has has too much power, according to Gallup. Republicans are much more likely to perceive labor unions as having too much power, while Democrats overwhelmingly believe that both the federal government and labor unions have too little power. The views of Independents fell in the middle.
Do you agree with Gallup’s poll results? Which societal segment do you believe has too much power? Let us know in the comments section.