Public ratings of the effectiveness of government are as politically polarized as they have ever been, according to the Pew Research Center’s 2012 American Values Survey.

About three-fourths of Republicans (77%) say that when something is run by the government it is usually inefficient and wasteful, matching a previous high in 1994. In contrast, just 41% of Democrats say the same, similar to 2009. Democrats in recent years have been more positive about government than at any point in the past 25 years.

The current 36-point partisan gap on this question is consistent with a pattern of wider polarization when a Democrat is in the White House. Since Democrats are generally less skeptical of government than Republicans, the gap between the parties narrows during Republican administrations, when Democratic criticism rises and Republican criticism falls.

About six-in-ten independents (63%) say things run by the government are typically wasteful and inefficient, relatively unchanged for most of the past decade. Read More

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