Opinions of the Federal Government Hit All-Time Low

One of President Barack Obama's motorcade vehicles is seen parked in front of the US Capitol Building. One of President Barack Obama's motorcade vehicles is seen parked in front of the US Capitol Building. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

More Americans than ever view the federal government negatively, with fewer than three in 10 holding a favorable opinion.

Just 28 percent of respondents to a Pew Research Center poll expressed a favorable view of the federal government in a new survey, down five points from a year ago and the lowest percentage ever recorded by Pew.

Even a majority of Democrats, who have historically viewed the federal government favorably during Democratic administrations, held negative views of the government. Only 13 percent of Republicans expressed favorable views of government in Washington, while 27 percent of Independents said the same.

Favorable ratings of the federal government are down from their high point of 82 percent in November 2001 and 42 percent in July 2009, shortly after President Obama took office.

Support for state and local governments, however, saw an uptick since last year. Fifty-seven percent of respondents held their state government in a positive light, up five points from a 2012 survey. Local government continued to have the highest approval ratings, with 63 percent of Americans holding a favorable view.

Generally, state and local government support was less divided by political party. Democrats, Republicans and Independents were within three points of each other on their views of state government, and within seven points on local governments. However, respondents were much more likely to support a state government controlled by their own party.

Pew conducted interviews with 1,501 adults from March 13-17 for the survey. 

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