More Than 1/4 of Americans Really Don’t Like Their Government Right Now

Anger with the federal government is now the highest since 1997, Pew says.

National Journal
Brian Resnick
Sept. 30, 2013, 2:45 p.m.

Twenty-six per­cent of Amer­ic­ans re­cently re­por­ted that they feel “angry” with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. Half, 51 per­cent, say they are frus­trated. And just 17 per­cent re­port that they are “ba­sic­ally con­tent.”

The Pew Re­search Cen­ter, which con­duc­ted the sur­vey, says this is the highest level of an­ger they have re­por­ted, or at least since they star­ted ask­ing the ques­tion in 1997. The an­gri­est right now are the con­ser­vat­ive Re­pub­lic­ans — 41 per­cent of them are angry. The an­gri­est of the angry are tea parti­ers, 50 per­cent of whom say they are angry.

The gen­er­al trend is not sur­pris­ing. The minor­ity party in gov­ern­ment tends to be angry when it is not in power. In Oc­to­ber 2006, right be­fore Demo­crats swept in­to power in the House and Sen­ate, 44 per­cent of lib­er­al Demo­crats re­por­ted that they were angry. But here’s what’s dif­fer­ent: Even now, 18 per­cent of lib­er­al Demo­crats are angry.

An­oth­er in­sight from the sur­vey: Young Amer­ic­ans are tun­ing out cov­er­age of the im­pend­ing gov­ern­ment shut­down. If you’re read­ing this art­icle with in­terest and are un­der the age of 30, you’re in the minor­ity. Con­grats! Sixty-three per­cent of young people “say they are not fol­low­ing news about the gov­ern­ment shut­down closely, in­clud­ing nearly half (46 per­cent) who say they aren’t fol­low­ing it at all,” Pew re­ports. “Just 13 per­cent of young adults are track­ing news about the budget battles in Con­gress very closely.”