Poll: Government trust nears record low

The two-week government shutdown pushed public trust in government near record lows, with fewer than two in 10 Americans saying they trust Washington to do what is right most of the time.

But, according to a new survey by Pew Research, Americans by a two-to-one margin have a favorable view of federal workers.

The survey also found that a record-high 30 percent say they are angry at the federal government — further evidence that the brinksmanship that enveloped Washington earlier this month upset voters across the country.

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According to Pew, Americans hold a positive view of every federal agency they surveyed, with the exception of the Internal Revenue Service.

The Centers for Disease Control was the most popular agency, with three in four Americans holding a positive view. NASA was seen favorably by 73 percent of Americans, while the Pentagon enjoyed the support of 72 percent.

Even the National Security Agency, which has been embroiled in controversy over its top-secret surveillance methods, enjoyed a 54-35 percent favorability rating.

That far outpaced Congress. Of those surveyed, just 23 percent described Congress favorably, while 73 percent disagreed.

Voters were more inclined to blame individual members of Congress than a broken political system for the gridlock endemic to Washington. Of those surveyed, 58 percent said it was individual lawmakers' faults, while 32 percent blamed a broken political system.

And members of the Tea Party — who dominate primaries in some heavily Republican districts — are extremely distrustful of the federal government, according to the poll. Some 80 percent of those surveyed said they do not trust Washington to do what is right most of the time.


Interestingly, there were sharp partisan divides in how favorably voters viewed federal agencies. Democrats were more likely to see the IRS favorably, by a 42 point gap. Democrats also were more appreciative of the Department of Health and Human Services (78-45 percent), and the Environmental Protection Agency (77-47 percent).