Americans think the federal government wastes just over half the money it spends, according to a Gallup poll released on Monday. Americans now estimate that the federal government wastes 51 cents on the dollar, a new high since Gallup first began asking the question in 1979.
State and local governments are viewed as less wasteful—results, Gallup says, that are consistent with Americans’ greater trust in government closer to home. But since polling began, Americans have viewed all forms of government as increasingly wasteful.
Gallup found that conservatives, the elderly, and the less educated are more likely than liberals, the young, and those with more formal education, respectively, to believe the federal government is wasteful.
Under President George W. Bush, however, the ideological divide flipped: In 2001, liberals estimated that 48 cents on the dollar were wasted, while conservatives guessed 44. Trust in government spending, Gallup noted, is likely correlated to trust in the party in power.