October 21, 2013

IRS viewed least favorably among federal agencies

51%

The IRS was rated less favorably than any of the other federal agencies tested in a new Pew Research survey; 51% had a negative opinion.

While a Pew Research survey conducted this month found public trust in the federal government nearing a record low, most Americans have a favorable view of many government agencies and departments and also regard federal workers positively.

Except for the Internal Revenue Service.

DN_Most_AgenciesNine of the 13 federal agencies and institutions included in the survey are viewed favorably by 60% or more of the public.  But among all of them, the IRS was the only one rated more unfavorably than favorably by the public, with 51% expressing a negative view compared with 44% who had a favorable one.

By comparison, five agencies received favorable ratings from two-thirds or more of the public: The Centers for Disease Control, or CDC (75% favorable), NASA (73%), the Defense Department (72%), the Veterans Administration (68%) and the Department of Homeland Security (66%).

Republicans have the least favorable views of the IRS, with only 23% regarding it positively. That compares with 65% of Democrats and 40% of independents.

Tea Party Republicans are the most highly critical of the IRS. (Last May, the agency faced controversy over reports that it targeted some conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status). While 65% of non-Tea Party Republicans rated the IRS unfavorably, that number rose to 82% for Tea party Republicans.

Category: Daily Number

  1. Photo of Bruce Drake

    is a Senior Editor at the Pew Research Center.

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