A bipartisan majority of Americans are either “very worried” or “somewhat worried” about the amount of control the “deep state” wields over the country and their lives, according to a Monmouth University poll released Monday.
Roughly 23 percent of American adults said they are “very worried” about the federal government’s invasion of their privacy, while 30 percent said they are “somewhat worried” about it. A total of eight in 10 Americans also believe the government currently is monitoring their activities, with 53 percent saying it is “widespread,” while 29 percent say it isn’t too widespread.
“This is a worrisome finding,” Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in Monmouth’s article. “The strength of our government relies on public faith in protecting our freedoms, which is not particularly robust. And it’s not a Democratic or Republican issue. These concerns span the political spectrum.”
Monmouth found that Americans’ wariness about the federal government crossed party lines with 57 percent of independents, 51 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of Democrats expressing concerns about federal overreach into their private lives.
When the term “deep state” was used to describe “a group of unelected government and military officials who secretly manipulate or direct national policy,” 74 percent of Americans told Monmouth they believed the deep state existed.
“We usually expect opinions on the operation of government to shift depending on which party is in charge,” Murray said. “But there’s an ominous feeling by Democrats and Republicans alike that a ‘deep state’ of unelected operatives are pulling the levers of power.”
Although a majority of Americans are worried about government-sanctioned spying on citizens, 53 percent say such monitoring is sometimes justified, while 28 percent say it isn’t. Sixty percent of Americans believe that “unelected or appointed government officials have too much influence in determining federal policy,” Monmouth found.
“Anxiety about a possible ‘deep state’ is prevalent in both parties,” Murray said. “Can those fears be allayed or will they intensify and spread? Or is this just the new normal? This is something we will have to keep tracking.”
The poll, conducted from March 2 to 5, surveyed 803 U.S. adults.
President Donald Trump has long decried the deep state, accused it of harboring bias against him, and pledged to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C. He also has singled out the Department of Justice as one of the deep state’s key components.
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