Sep 2, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Poll: 56% of Americans say debt ceiling fight made them trust government less

Share who say they  agree that experiences with the federal government have been mostly positive
Data: Partnership for Public Service; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans of both parties think the federal government is doing a worse job for other people than it is for them personally, according to new polling from the Partnership for Public Service.

Zoom in: The prolonged, partisan fighting over raising the debt ceiling in May worsened people's perspective of how the government operates. 56% of respondents overall said the negotiations somewhat or strongly decreased their trust in the government's effectiveness.

  • That overall majority included 42% of Democrats and a whopping 68% of Republicans surveyed.

Zoom in: Republicans were far more likely to report having a negative view of — and experience with — the federal government than Democrats on the survey.

  • Republicans were split when asked if their personal experience with the government was mostly positive — 45% agreed while 43% disagreed.
  • In contrast, only 22% of Democrats disagreed when asked the same question.
  • Similarly, more than half of Republicans said they did not think most people in the U.S. have positive experiences with the federal government. Just 39% of Democrats said the same.

By the numbers: Just 38% of the 1,000 respondents surveyed online using a quota sampling method said overall they thought most Americans had positive experiences with the federal government.

  • Nearly half (47%) disagreed.
  • This lack of faith in the government was less pronounced when respondents were asked about their own personal experiences, however.
  • A majority overall — 53% — said their personal experiences were mostly positive.

What they're saying: ""We are experiencing a crisis in the public's trust of our government, which hampers the effectiveness of federal agencies to respond to important problems and threatens the vitality of our democracy," Max Stier, president and CEO of Partnership for Public Service, told Axios in a statement.

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