More than a third of Britons want public spending to be increased - a rise of 5% from 2010 - especially on the heath service, according to a survey.
The British Social Attitudes survey, by NatCen Social Research, has shown a picture of a nation of big spenders, increasingly dissatisfied with the NHS and supportive of curbing benefits and immigration.
For the first time in nearly a decade the proportion of people who want more public spending, even if it means higher taxes, has increased from 31% to 36% between 2010 and 2011, the report showed.
Satisfaction with the health service has fallen since the government began its health reforms, from an all-time high of 70% in 2010 to 58% in 2011. More than two thirds (68%) chose health as their priority for more government spending.
Penny Young, chief executive of NatCen Social Research, said the findings highlighted "tough challenges" for the coalition.
"Less than half way through the Parliament, there is already concern about cuts and their effect on public services.
"However, more encouragingly for ministers, there is clear support for welfare and immigration reform - two areas we are already seeing emerge as key battlegrounds for the next general election."
More than half the public - up from 39% in 1995 to 51% - have said they want to see immigration reduced a lot.
More than one-in-two people (52%) think migrants are generally bad for Britain's economy, up from 43% in 2002. A similar proportion (48%) think migration undermines Britain's cultural life, up from 33% in 2002.
In contrast to the recession of the early Nineties, support for welfare provision has continued to fall as the economic slump goes on.
More than half (54%) now believe that more people would stand on their own feet if benefits were less generous - compared with just over a quarter (26%) in 1991.
Just over a quarter (28%) of people want to see more spending on benefits now, a decrease from nearly six in 10 (58%) in 1991.
The early Nineties recession brought about concerns that benefits were too low and caused hardship, with 55% of people thinking this in 1993. That contrasts with 19% who think the same today, the study showed.
The researchers asked people about their attitudes towards Eastern European migrants. In cases where the migrants were highly skilled professionals, 59% think they are good for Britain but if they were unskilled labourers, support fell to 19%.
The 2011 survey was the 29th British Social Attitudes report and researchers carried out 3,311 interviews with a representative, random sample of adults in Britain.