August 14, 2012

Deepening Divide Between Republicans and Democrats Over Business Regulation

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There is a 35 point gap between Republicans who believe that government regulation of business usually does more harm than good and the number of Democrats who share that view.

No issue relating to business is more politically divisive than the impact of government regulation.

Fully 76% of Republicans say that government regulation of business does more harm than good, among the highest percentages ever. Just 41% of Democrats agree ā€” a difference of 35 percentage points. In 2007, identical proportions of Republicans and Democrats said government regulation of business did more harm than good (57% each).

Beyond the wide partisan differences over each of these measures, both parties are divided over the need for ā€” or the impact of ā€” government regulation.

Nearly nine-in-ten Tea Party Republicans (87%) say that government regulation of business does more harm than good. A smaller majority of Republicans who do not agree with the Tea Party, or have no opinion of the movement, agree (65%) with this view. But the larger division among Republicans is over the necessity of government regulation: 68% of Tea Party Republicans disagree with the idea that a free market economy needs government regulation to protect the public interest. Most non-Tea Party Republicans (62%) say that government regulation of the free market is needed.

The Democratsā€™ internal differences are not as stark. But while conservative and moderate Democrats are divided over whether government regulation of business does more harm than good (48% agree, 45% disagree), most liberal Democrats disagree (65%). Roughly eight-in-ten conservative and moderate Democrats (79%) and liberals (82%) agree that a free market needs government regulation. Read More