Currently, 52% say government regulation of business usually does more harm than good while 40% think regulating business is necessary to protect the public interest. These views are similar to January 2008, before the financial crisis and onset of the economic recession.Most of the difference between last year and now is among Republicans, spoon-fed by their elected representatives and becoming more and more entrenched in their fear and hatred of government. Three-quarters of them share the opinion that regulation does more harm than good, and 83 percent of self-identified conservative Republicans say regulation is harmful.
Last March, opinion was more divided; 47% said regulating business is necessary to protect the public interest while 45% said government regulation does more harm than good.
But the numbers really start to erode when the survey gets past the broad idea of regulation, and starts drilling down to what the term actually means.
Overall, the public overwhelmingly supports strengthening regulations or keeping them as they are in specific areas, such as food safety and environmental protection; very few want to reduce regulations in these areas. And these views of regulation have changed little from July 1995.