State, local government more popular than federal

AP News
Posted: Apr 26, 2012 3:07 PM
State, local government more popular than federal

Majorities of the public look more kindly on their state and local governments than Washington, according to a new the Pew Research Center poll.

Still, those favorable views do not mean people are impressed with their state government's performance. Majorities say their state government is inefficient and not careful with the people's money. Most also say it is too divided along party lines.

Overall, just one-third of the public has a favorable opinion of the federal government and 62 percent say their opinion is mostly or very unfavorable. That's the least positive rating the U.S. government has earned in the 15 years since Pew began asking the question.

State governments earned a favorability rating of 52 percent; for local government, the rating was 61 percent.

Public impressions of government at all levels took a hit as the financial crisis unfolded in 2008 and 2009.

The survey found that few have faith that the U.S. government is taking the right actions: 79 percent say it's not careful with people's money, 71 percent believe it generally is inefficient and 66 percent say it does not address people's needs.

Further, corruption and partisan division are seen as problematic by most, with 75 percent saying the federal government is too divided along party lines and 54 percent saying it is mostly corrupt.

Though state government fares better in overall popularity, the public still isn't sure about its actions.

Fifty-one percent said their state government is generally inefficient, 56 percent say it's also not careful with the people's money and 53 percent say it's too divided along party lines. State governments are less apt than the federal government to be considered corrupt, however, as just 37 see their state government that way. People are divided on whether state government addresses people's needs, with 42 percent saying it does and 43 percent saying it doesn't.

The poll on impressions of government was conducted April 4-15 among a random national sample of 1,514 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. Questions on how state and federal governments work were asked in an April 19-22 poll among a random national sample of 1,004 adults and has an error margin of 3.6 points. The Pew Research Center conducted both polls.