The Washington Post reports on a recent survey:
The poll found little change in underlying public attitudes toward government since the inauguration, with slightly more than half saying they prefer a smaller government with fewer services to a larger government with more services. Independents, however, now split 61 to 35 percent in favor of a smaller government; they were more narrowly divided on this question a year ago (52 to 44 percent), before the financial crisis hit.
The Obama team probably assumes people who identify as Republicans will disapprove of Obama's actions sooner rather than later. Independents, however, are crucial to keeping up his public approval and thereby getting what he wants out of Congress. On the size of government — as well as on many specific policy issues — Obama is now running counter to public opinion.
This may be the beginning of the end of the beginning.