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Opinion of federal government hits record low: poll

A general view of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed
A general view of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans' opinion of the federal government has fallen to a record low even as they continue to view local and state governments favorably, according to Pew Research Center survey released on Monday.

Just 28 percent of Americans rate the government in Washington favorably, the lowest percentage ever in a Pew survey and down 5 percentage points from a year ago, Pew said in a statement.

The favorability rating has fallen steadily from a high of 82 percent in November 2001, after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

The March survey showed Democrats with a more favorable opinion than Republicans of the federal government, at 41 percent to 13 percent.

Democrats' opinion has fallen 20 percentage points since July 2009, six months after President Barack Obama took office. The Republicans' favorable opinion is down 11 percentage points.

The poll shows that 63 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of their local government, virtually unchanged since 2007. Fifty-seven percent have a favorable view of their state governments, up 5 percentage points from 2012.

Fully 71 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who live in Republican-led states - those with a Republican governor and state legislature - have a favorable opinion of their state government.

But only 30 percent of Republicans living in Democratic-led states view their state governments favorably.

Democrats and Democratic leaners in Democratic-led states have a 64 percent positive view of their state governments. Among Democrats living in Republican-led states, 50 percent have a favorable opinion and 46 percent have an unfavorable opinion of their state government.

The survey was conducted March 13-17 among 1,501 adults. The margin of error is 2.9 percentage points.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Greg McCune and Tim Dobbyn)

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