Today, two-in-ten Americans say they trust the government in Washington to do what is right just about always (2%) or most of the time (19%).
Trust in government has remained at roughly this low level for more than a decade. Since the 2007-2008 financial crisis, no more than about a quarter of Americans have expressed trust in the federal government to do what is right all or most of the time.
Among Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, 29% now say they trust the federal government just about always or most of the time, down slightly since 2021. Only about one-in-ten Republicans and GOP leaners say they trust the government in Washington to do what is right just about always or most of the time, also unchanged since the beginning of the Biden administration.
By comparison, Republicans were more trusting of the federal government than Democrats during Donald Trump’s presidency. Overall, partisans have tended to express higher levels of trust in government when a president of their party holds the White House. GOP levels of trust in government today are near an all-time low.
As has been the case for more than a decade, a majority of Americans say they feel frustrated with the federal government: 60% say this today, while 22% say they are basically content and 18% say they are angry.
Overall anger at government is little changed over the last year, and slightly lower than it was throughout the Trump administration. About two-in-ten have expressed contentment with the federal government for much of the last eight years (though contentment was somewhat higher in April 2021, when 29% of U.S. adults said they were basically content with the federal government).
Among Democrats, the share who say they are basically content with the federal government has decreased by 14 percentage points in the past year, from 43% to 29%, putting it roughly on par with Democratic views about the federal government throughout Barack Obama’s administration. The share of Democrats saying they are frustrated has increased since last year from 52% to 64%; just 6% now say they are angry with the federal government, up slightly from last year when 4% said this. But Democratic anger with the federal government remains substantially lower than it was during Donald Trump’s presidency and is slightly lower than it was throughout Obama’s administration.
About a third of Republicans (32%) report being angry at the federal government, identical to the share who said this a year ago. The shares who say they are basically content (10%) or frustrated (57%) are also similar to what they were a year ago (13% content, 55% frustrated).
Age differences in distrust of the federal government
Nearly identical shares of adults across age groups say they trust the federal government to do what is right only some of the time or never, with 80% of adults under age 50 and 78% of adults ages 50 and older saying this. Older and younger Democrats, however, express different levels of trust in the government in Washington to do what is right.
Among Democrats ages 65 and older, 57% say they trust the government to do what is right only some of the time or never. By comparison, about seven-in-ten Democrats ages 35 to 49 (72%) and ages 50 to 64 (69%) say the same, as do 78% of Democrats ages 18 to 34.
In contrast, there are no substantial age differences in trust in government among Republicans. Still, despite these sizable differences among Democrats, Democrats of all ages are more trusting of government than Republicans: About nine-in-ten Republicans in each of these four age groups say they trust the government in Washington to do what is right only some of the time or never.