There is a big gap in the number of Americans who view the federal government favorably compared to state and local governments.

Just a third of Americans have a favorable opinion of the federal government, the lowest positive rating in 15 years. Yet 61% regard their local governments favorably and 52% have a positive view of their state governments — making the gap between favorable ratings of the federal government and state and local governments wider than ever.

Ten years ago, roughly two-thirds of Americans offered favorable assessments of all three levels of government: federal, state and local.

Just over half (51%) of Democrats have a favorable opinion of the federal government in Washington, compared with 27% of independents and just 20% of Republicans. This contrasts with partisan views of the federal government when George W. Bush was president. As recently as 2008, Republicans held a more favorable opinion of the federal government in Washington (53%) than did Democrats (29%).

Since Barack Obama’s first year in office, public assessments of the federal government have dropped nine-points, with most of the change among Democrats and independents. Read More

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