Americans feel increasingly estranged from their government; barely a third (34%) now agree with the statement, “most elected officials care what people like me think,” nearly matching the 20-year low of 33% recorded in 1994 and a 10-point drop since 2002. While partisanship is a factor, the current negative trends exist across party lines — frustration with government and elected officials is growing among Democrats, Republicans and independents alike. On some measures, this shift represents the public returning to previous levels of skepticism following a brief period of goodwill toward government in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. On other measures, however, the extent of public criticism is at or near record highs, not seen since 1994 when public frustration was particularly widespread. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.