Americans are not happy about how the federal government works, a new survey suggests.
Only about 34 percent of Americans say they are “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with the size and power of the government, according to Gallup.
Perhaps more telling is that these numbers, which Gallup calls “historically low,” are little changed from 2011 to 2017. Gallup noted that public satisfaction with the government between 2001 and 2008 was much higher.
For example, in January 2001, after the Supreme Court named George W. Bush president following a historically close election, 68 percent of Americans said they were satisfied with their system of government. Fifty percent said they were satisfied with the government’s size and power.
Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, satisfaction with the system of government, as well as its size and scope, soared to 76 percent and 60 percent, respectively. Those numbers began to decline in 2003, Gallup said.
By the end of the Bush administration in 2009, 53 percent of Americans said they were satisfied with the system of government, and 41 percent said they were satisfied with its size and power.
Gallup did not measure satisfaction again until 2011, when it found both numbers declined by double digits. Since then, satisfaction with the size and power of the government never went above 40 percent.
Views about government have fallen among Democrats and Republicans.
Among Democrats, only 29 percent said they support the current political system. Satisfaction with the size and power dropped 24 percent in one year, Gallup said.
Republicans tend to be more satisfied with the system of government, with 51 percent saying they are satisfied. That was up from 38 percent during the last days of the administration of President Barack Obama. Satisfaction with the size of government among Republicans grew to 34 percent this year. That was up from 21 percent in 2017, and 16 percent in 2016.
Americans are unlikely to change their views about government any time soon, Gallup said.
“Beyond polarization, there are reasons to believe that a significant share of the country will continue to be dissatisfied with the size and power of the federal government and the U.S. system of government for the foreseeable future,” according to Gallup in a news release.