Washington (CNN) - Most Americans distrust the government these days, and the reasons have more to do with current economic and political conditions than personal ideology, according to polling by the Pew Research Center.
The results posted Sunday on the Pew Web site were similar to a CNN poll in February that found about one in four Americans trust the federal government to do what's right.
According to the Pew report based on polling conducted in March and April, the dissatisfaction is due to what it called a "perfect storm of
conditions associated with distrust of government - a dismal economy, an unhappy public, bitter partisan-based backlash, and epic discontent with Congress and elected officials."
Neither Republicans nor Democrats can be assured of gains from the discontent, according to the Pew report, which added that "favorable ratings for both major parties, as well as for Congress, have reached record lows while opposition to congressional incumbents, already approaching an all-time high, continues to climb."
The main Pew survey took place March 11-21 among 2,505 adults, with a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points. Three other supporting surveys of approximately 1,000 adults each were conducted March 18-21, April 1-5 and April 8-11, with all three having a sampling error of 4 percentage points.
According to the results, 22 percent of respondents said they can trust the government in Washington almost always or most of the time, which was among the lowest approval figures in a half century, according to the Pew report.
Congress received a favorable rating from 25 percent of respondents, the lowest such figure in a quarter century, the report said. The Obama
administration received a more positive job rating, with 40 percent saying it was doing an excellent or good job, it said.
A small but growing segment of the public holds intense anti-government views, according to the Pew report, with the number of respondents describing themselves as angry with the federal government doubling since 2000 to match the high of 20 percent last reached in October 2006.
"Intense anti-government sentiment is highly concentrated among certain groups - Republicans, independents and others who lean Republican, and those who agree with the Tea Party movement," the report said.
No single factor causes the general public distrust in government, the report said.
"Distrust of government soars when the public is unhappy with the way things are going in the country," it said, noting the recent downturn in trust in government began in the fall of 2008, "when public satisfaction plunged amid the financial crisis. "
Levels of public trust also depend on what party is in power, according to the report, with Republicans generally more trusting of a GOP-led government than Democrats are of a Democratic-led government.
The polling also found that 62 percent of respondents believe the federal government's priorities are misguided, resulting in policies that "do too little for average Americans."