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Poll: Public favors government role on food safety

The two-plus years of the Obama presidency have featured an ideological war over the role of government -- in managing the economy, providing health care coverage, and regulating Wall Street.

But when it comes to the U.S. government ensuring food safety, there's little disagreement.

A new poll for the Pew Charitable Trusts -- conducted by Hart Research Associates (the Democratic half of the NBC/WSJ poll) and American Viewpoint (a GOP polling firm) -- finds that 85% of Americans believe the federal government should have the responsibility to make sure food is safe to eat.

In addition, 66% favor increasing funding for the federal Food and Drug Administration so it can carry out its new responsibilities under the new Food and Safety Modernization Act. And 67% agree with the statement that any price increase related to food safety likely will be less than 1% and that this small increase is worth it. That's compared with 29% who say the new requirements will drive up food costs for consumers.

The poll also finds this result: A majority of the public (53%) thinks the government should do more to solve problems and meet the needs of people, versus 42% who believe the government is doing too much.

The poll was taken of 1,015 likely voters (including 202 reached by cell phone) from April 28 to May 4. It has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.