The closer the government, the more people like it, according to a new study. The survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that most people have a favorable opinion about local and state governments, but they have a decidedly unfavorable opinion of the federal government.
The numbers are awful for the federal government. Only 33 percent of Americans surveyed gave a favorable rating to the federal government, with nearly twice as many, 62 percent, reporting an unfavorable view. That is the lowest positive rating for the federal government in 15 years.
By contrast, 61 percent of people in the survey have a favorable opinion about their local government, and 52 percent feel favorably about state government. The results reflect a widening gap between people’s attitude about government. Ten years ago, according to the Pew survey, roughly two-thirds of Americans offered favorable assessments of all three levels of government.
Opinions about local government have been the most consistent during the last decade, according to the Pew Center. In 2002, 67 percent of people said they had a favorable opinion of local government, compared to 61 percent in 2012. The 10-year range for state government was 62 percent to 52 percent favorable, while favorable opinions about federal government fell from 64 percent to 33 percent.
The survey also reflects partisan views. For example, 51 percent of Democrats say they have a favorable opinion of the current federal government, compared with 27 percent of independents and 20 percent of Republicans.
Republicans are more satisfied with state government, with 62 percent reporting a favorable view, compared to 50 percent of Democrats and 49 percent of independents. Several of the states favored by Republicans have Republican governors and Republican majority legislatures.