05/14/2008 - According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, Americans continue to hold their local and state governments in fairly high esteem, but positive views of the federal government are at their lowest point in at least a decade. Only 37% of people say they hold a favorable view of the federal government, while 58% express an unfavorable opinion. By comparison, 59% hold favorable views of their state governments and 63% hold favorable views of their local governments, figures that have been essentially stable since 2002.
Favorability ratings of the federal government in Washington have tumbled over the past year. As recently as January 2007, as many Americans offered a favorable (45%) as unfavorable (46%) opinion. In December 2002, favorable opinions of the federal government outnumbered unfavorable opinions by more than two-to-one (64% vs. 27%).
Ratings of the federal government are tracking Americans' low opinions of the president and Congress, as well as their overall frustration with the state of the nation. George W. Bush's approval rating has reached an all-time low of 27%, and Pew's March survey found just 22% expressing satisfaction with the way things are going in the country, while 72% were dissatisfied.
Asked whether most members of Congress should be re-elected, only 36% said yes in late February, and only 31% approved of the job Democratic leaders in Congress were doing when asked in January.
Read the full report The Federal Government's Favorables Fall Even Farther on the Pew Research Center Web site.