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Fully 80% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they prefer a smaller government with fewer services, compared with just 31% of Democrats and Democratic leaners.

Yet both Republicans and Democrats favor significant government involvement on an array of specific issues.

Yet at the same time, most Americans have a lengthy to-do list for this object of their frustration: Majorities want the federal government to have a major role in addressing issues ranging from terrorism and disaster response to education and the environment.

And most Americans the way the federal government handles many of these same issues, though they are broadly critical of its handling of others – especially poverty and immigration.

This report was made possible by The Pew Charitable Trusts, which received support for the survey from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

In Barack Obama’s six years as president, 13% of Republicans, on average, have said they can trust the government always or most of the time – the lowest level of average trust among either party during any administration dating back 40 years. Bush’s presidency, an average of 47% of Republicans said they could trust the government.

Moreover, while majorities of Republicans favor a major government role in ensuring a basic income for people 65 and older (59%), protecting the environment (58%) and ensuring access to high-quality education (55%), much larger shares of Democrats – 80% or more in each case – favor a large government role. Overwhelming numbers of Republicans and Democrats say the federal government should have either a major Throughout most of this report, Republicans and Democrats include independents and other non-partisans who lean toward the parties.

In virtually all situations, these Republican and Democratic leaners have far more in common with their partisan counterparts than they do with each other if combined into a single “independent” group. At a general level, the public finds the government frustrating and badly managed.

The share of Republicans and Republican leaners saying they are angry with the government is not as high as in October 2013 (32% now, 38% then).

Nonetheless, Republicans are nearly three times as likely as Democrats (12%) to say they are angry with the government.


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