Anger at Federal Government Reaches New Record

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 19 2013 12:31 PM

Anger at Federal Government Reaches New Record (But People Like its Agencies)

View taken on November 20, 2009 shows the U.S. Senate and Capitol Dome

Photo by TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

Americans aren't very happy with their government. In fact, 30 percent of people said they were downright angry at the government in a Pew poll that was conducted just before the Oct. 16 agreement to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. That marks a new high, up from the 26 percent who expressed anger at the government in a September poll. Meanwhile, 55 percent say they are frustrated with the government while only 12 percent say they are basically happy. In parallel, public trust in the government has also dropped to near record lows, with fewer than two in 10 Americans saying they trust Washington to do what is right most of the time.

Even though Americans seem to highly dislike their federal representatives, they do have a good opinion of the vast majority of federal agencies and departments as well as their employees. The only exception? The IRS. The tax agency earned a paltry 44 percent favorable rating in the Pew poll. That may be huge compared to Congress, but small when compared to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has a 75 percent favorable rating. Americans also seem to have a positive view of federal workers, according to Pew and don’t think the American political system is unworkable.  Nearly six-in-ten Americans agree “the political system can work fine, it’s the members of Congress that are the problem.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 6:22 PM Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.