Operationally Liberal; Ideologically . . . Liberal?

It's long been observed among the smart set that Americans are ideologically conservative but operationally liberal. Americans, in short, favor lower taxes and smaller government. There just aren't any particular programs whose budgets they think should be reduced. They think we need to get big government regulations off our backs, but politicians win plaudits for proposing new ones all the time. Well, Chris Bowers observes that one finding of the giant recently released Pew survey (PDF) is that this may be changing.

The question of the hour is "If you had to choose, would you rather have a smaller government providing fewer services, or a bigger government providing more services?" Back in 1996, there was a 61-30 split in favor of fewer services. By today, that's down to a 45-43 split. When you consider that even in the 61-30 split era, Bill Clinton was able to win re-election "Medicare, Medicaid, Education and the Environment" the dawn of a new era of parity on the generic size of government question may well herald a bold new era of big government.

Another interesting finding: "Views of many corporations vary significantly among Democrats along class lines. Two-thirds of working-class Democrats have a favorable view of Wal-Mart compared with 45% of professional-class Democrats."