Only 17 percent of those polled by Gallup said they viewed the federal government in a favorable light, ranking it dead last among a list of 25 industries.
Sixty-three percent of those surveyed said they had a negative view of the federal government; the only sector with a higher negative rating was the oil and gas industry, at 64 percent.
Public opinion toward Washington – and Congress in particular – has been at an ebb for years. But what’s striking about the Gallup survey is how far the public’s view of government has plunged from where it stood nearly a decade ago.
In a 2003 Gallup survey, 41 percent of respondents said they viewed the federal government positively. Since then, positive views of government have plunged by 24 percentage point – the greatest drop for any of the 25 sectors included in the Gallup survey.
The only other sector that experienced a comparable drop was the real estate industry: 46 percent of those polled had a favorably view of the industry in 2001, compared with 23 percent in the most recent survey. Several industries, including the Internet industry, electric and gas utilities and the movie industry, experienced a net gain in their positive rating.
The last time that positive views of the federal government exceeded negative views was 2003, according to Gallup. The 2011 figures represent the most negative public attitudes toward the government in the past eight years.