Public opinion of federal government at 15-year low

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Public opinion of the federal government is at a 15-year low, with only a third of Americans viewing it favorably, according to a new Pew survey. Sixty-two percent view it unfavorably.

Of possible concern for President Obama is a 9-percentage-point drop in the public's opinion of the federal government since he took office. Three years ago, 61 percent of Democrats viewed the federal government favorably, and that number has dropped to 51 percent today, perhaps reflecting dissatisfaction with Obama's failure to deliver on a number of campaign promises.

But not all government is bad government in the public's view. The survey shows that a majority of Americans view their state and local governments positively. Fifty-two percent of respondents said they have a favorable opinion of their state government, and an even higher percentage, 61 percent, view their local governments favorably.

But state governments are not considered wise stewards of public money and are seen as too partisan, the poll found. Fifty-six percent said their state government isn't careful with people's money, and 53 percent said it is too divided along party lines. But while state governments aren't considered corrupt by a majority of respondents, 54 percent of respondents said the federal government is mostly corrupt.

Pew surveyed 1,514 adults nationwide between April 4-15; the results have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percent.

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