The Washington Post

Poll finds increased pessimism in government

New Washington Post-ABC News polling numbers should bring pause to those working within the government or who care about its operations.

In our latest poll, just a quarter of Americans are expressing optimism about the future of the U.S. government with nearly half of poll respondents uncertain about its future, colleague Peyton Craighill writes in brother blog, Behind the Numbers.

Unlike most attitudes about government and politics, there’s near uniformity on this question: Three in 10 or fewer Democrats, Republicans and independents express optimism about the future.

Optimism in government peaked at 57 percent in a February 1977 Post-ABC poll and has ebbed and flowed in a generally downward direction ever since.

Uncertainty in the future of government is at an all-time high: 49 percent in our most recent poll, up from 46 percent in an ABC-Yahoo! survey from October and 28 percent the last time a Post-ABC poll asked the question in 1996.

Despite the negativity, just 23 percent of poll respondents are pessimistic about the government; 28 percent of Americans expressed pessimism in a March 1996 Post-ABC survey, the highest level of negativity in the history of our polls.

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RELATED: Budget impasse cements public’s disapproval of Washington

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.


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