Over at The American Prospect, Tim Fernholz notes:
[W]hatever the problems with our political system, we do a decent job allocating public resources into programs that people like. Complaints about "big government" and excessive spending are more often based on who is getting the money -- the poor and minorities often inspire the most ire -- rather than the fact that spending is happening at all, despite the framing that conservatives would like to impose on the discussion.
The poll also suggests that people believe government has a role to play in making society better. You can also see why it's so hard, politically, to cut the budget. The programs we're most willing to cut are the ones that take the least amount of money in the first place. Most people are willing to take a chunk out of foreign aid, for example -- and it's less than one percent of the federal budget.