One of the difficulties in arguments about the desires of the American public is that the majority of the American public supports contradictory positions. As an example, a large majority of the public believes that the government is trying to do too much, that it is over reaching. 59% say the Federal government has too much power.This is shown below:
58% say the government tries to do too much to solve problems:
However, when it comes to specific issues, the majority want the government to do more in many major areas of debate. The only area in which a majority would like to see the government do less is in supporting businesses that are in trouble. This is shown below:
This dichotomy is one of the reasons that it is hard to define what "mandate" comes when one party or another is given a majority in Congress or elected to the White House.