Multi-section ReportsMarch 3, 2011

Fewer Are Angry at Government, But Discontent Remains High

The public remains deeply frustrated with the federal government, but fewer Americans say they are angry at government than did so last fall. Overall, the percentage saying they are angry with the federal government has fallen from 23% last September to 14% today, with much of the decline coming among Republicans and Tea Party […]

PublicationsFebruary 15, 2011

Public Remains Divided Over the Patriot Act

Public views of the Patriot Act, whose renewal is being debated by Congress, have changed little since the Bush administration. Currently, 42% say the Patriot Act is a necessary tool that helps the government find terrorists, while somewhat fewer (34%) say the Patriot Act goes too far and poses a threat to civil liberties. […]

CommentaryJuly 1, 2010

Proud Patriots — and Harsh Critics of Government

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InteractivesApril 18, 2010

Public Trust in Government: 1958-2010

Data from Pew Research Center, National Election Studies, Gallup, ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, and CNN Polls. From 1976-2010 the trend line represents a three-survey moving average. For party analysis, selected datasets obtained from searches of the iPOLL Databank provided by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut. Report: Distrust, Discontent, Anger […]

Multi-section ReportsApril 18, 2010

Distrust, Discontent, Anger and Partisan Rancor

By almost every conceivable measure Americans are less positive and more critical of government these days. A new Pew Research Center survey finds a perfect storm of conditions associated with distrust of government – a dismal economy, an unhappy public, bitter partisan-based backlash, and epic discontent with Congress and elected officials. Rather than an […]

CommentaryMarch 24, 2010

Young People Make Up Large Proportion of Census Hold-Outs

PublicationsMarch 16, 2010

With Growing Awareness of Census, Most Ready to Fill Out Forms

As forms for the 2010 U.S. Census arrive in households across the nation this week, a new Pew Research Center survey finds nearly universal awareness of the census, with 94% of Americans saying they have heard of the census and 79% having heard something recently about it. Nearly nine-in-ten Americans (87%) now say they […]

PublicationsJanuary 20, 2010

Most View Census Positively, But Some Have Doubts

As the federal government gears up for its decennial count of the country’s population, most Americans think the census is very important and say they will definitely participate. But acceptance of and enthusiasm for the census are not universal. Certain segments of the population such as younger people, Hispanics and the less well educated […]

PublicationsSeptember 2, 2009

Congressional Favorability at 24-Year Low

Americans are extremely displeased with Congress, and there are already some signs that this could take a toll on the Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections. Currently, 37% express a favorable opinion of Congress, while 52% hold an unfavorable view. Positive opinions of Congress have declined by 13 points since April and are now […]

PublicationsAugust 19, 2009

More See White House and GOP Leaders at Odds

Americans are in an increasingly sour mood about Washington. Barack Obama’s approval ratings continue to inch downward and a growing proportion of Americans (63%) think that the president and Republican leaders are not working together to deal with important issues facing the nation; in June, 50% said the two sides were not cooperating. While […]

PublicationsAugust 11, 2009

Budget Woes Take Toll on Views of State Governments

With the economy wreaking havoc on state budgets, the favorability ratings of state governments have declined from a year ago. Overall, 50% of the public now holds a favorable opinion of their state government, down from 59% in April 2008. The falloff in positive views has been greater in states with large and moderate […]

PublicationsMay 14, 2008

Federal Government’s Favorable Ratings Slump

Summary of Findings 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, […]

Multi-section ReportsAugust 2, 2007

A Summer of Discontent with Washington

Summary of Findings As official Washington winds down for its summer holiday, all three branches of government are coming under fire from the American public. Just 29% approve of the way President Bush is handling his job, and only slightly more, 33%, approve of the job performance of the Democratic leaders of Congress. Even the […]

PublicationsApril 20, 2006

Public Disillusionment with Congress at Record Levels

Summary of Findings The American public is angry with Congress, and this is bad news for the Republican Party. The belief that this Congress has accomplished less than its predecessors is markedly higher than at any point in the past nine years, and by a wide margin Republican leaders are blamed for this. Many more […]

CommentarySeptember 22, 2005

Katrina Has Only Modest Impact on Basic Public Values

As the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort unfolds along the Gulf Coast, there has been considerable speculation about the disaster’s possible impact on fundamental public attitudes on such questions as the role of government, the plight of the poor and the extent of racial progress in the U.S. On the left, some have expressed the hope […]

Multi-section ReportsApril 19, 2005

Support for Tougher Indecency Measures, But Worries About Government Intrusiveness

Introduction and Summary Americans have ambivalent views about the appropriate role for government in curbing sex, violence and indecency in the entertainment media. They have doubts about the effectiveness of government action, and believe that public pressure ­ in the form of complaints and boycotts ­ is a better way of dealing with the problem. […]

Multi-section ReportsNovember 5, 2003

The 2004 Political Landscape

Over the past four years, the American electorate has been dealt a series of body blows, each capable of altering the political landscape. The voting system broke down in a presidential election. A booming economy faltered, punctuated by revelations of one of the worst business scandals in U.S. history. And the country endured a […]

PublicationsMay 13, 2001

No Consensus on the Census

Introduction and Summary Dramatic increases in both the size and ethnic diversity of America’s population, reflected in the 2000 census, are drawing a mixed reaction from the public. Consistent with a long-term rise in favorable attitudes toward immigrants, more people say today’s immigrants are better able to adapt to American life than did so four […]

CommentaryMarch 27, 2001

Why Americans Aren’t Stirred by Campaign Finance Reform

Ask Americans why they don’t trust government and many will cite their distrust of government’s bosses — the politicians. Ask why they don’t trust the pols and the role of big money in politics is prominently mentioned. Yet campaign finance reform consistently gets a low rating as a national priority when tested against other issues. […]

Multi-section ReportsApril 12, 2000

Performance and Purpose; Constituents Rate Government Agencies

Introduction and Summary Americans have long been ambivalent, if not downright conflicted, in their attitudes toward the federal government. They rail against the government’s inefficiency, but clamor for government programs that benefit them. Since the era of Vietnam and Watergate, a majority of Americans have said they can seldom trust the government to do the […]