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Poll finds trust of federal government runs low

  • CNN asks 1,023 adult Americans about their trust in government
  • Federal government rates the lowest at 23%; local government rates 52%
  • Suburbanites rate highest level of trust with local government

Washington (CNN) -- When it comes to the trust Americans put in government, a new national poll indicates it's a matter of location, location, location.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday, only 26 percent of the public trusts the federal government most of the time or always.

A third of the people questioned in the poll say they trust their state government most or all of the time. But that number surges to 52 percent for those who say they trust local government most or all of the time.

"How broken is government in the mind of most Americans? It depends on how close that government is to them," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

"Suburbanites are happiest with their local government, with 55 percent of them saying they trust their local government all or most of the time. That same figure for city folk is 50 percent, and for rural Americans, it is 47 percent."

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Democrats may want to take pause over the 26-percent trust figure. The number is as low as it was in 1994 when the GOP swept the midterm elections and won control of Congress.

According to CNN poll numbers released Sunday, Americans overwhelmingly think that the government in this country is broken, but the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what's broken can be fixed.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 12-15, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey.

CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.