The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Sept. 25-29 among 1,005 adults, finds that 26% overall say they are angry at the federal government, while 51% feel frustrated. Just 17% say they are basically content with the government.
The share of Americans who say they are angry at the federal government has risen seven points since January and now equals the high reached in August 2011, a few weeks after the widely criticized debt ceiling agreement between the president and Congress.
As in the past, substantial majorities across the political spectrum are either angry or frustrated with the federal government. But anger at the government is far more widespread among conservative Republicans than other partisan groups. This marks a change from 2011, when political independents (30% angry) were about as likely as conservative Republicans (32%) to express anger at the federal government. In the new survey, 41% of conservative Republicans say they feel angry at the government, compared with 27% of independents. Conservative Republicans are roughly twice as likely as liberal Democrats to say they are angry with government (41% vs. 18%).
Since Barack Obama became president in 2009, most of the anger at government has been concentrated among Republicans, especially conservatives and those who support the Tea Party. Currently, 50% of Republicans and Republican leaners who agree with the Tea Party say they are angry at the government, compared with just 27% of non-Tea Party Republicans.
But in October 2006, during the Bush administration, liberal Democrats expressed more anger at the government than any other group. At that time, just prior to the 2006 midterm, the percentage of liberal Democrats who said they felt angry at the federal government (44%) mirrors the share of conservative Republicans who say that today (41%).