What does the most populous state think of the federal government?

Friday - 10/22/2010, 2:01pm EDT

A survey by the Public Policy Institute of California found that distrust in state and federal government runs high in the country's most populous state.

According to the PPIC survey, 75 percent of Californians think state government is run by a few big interests and 79 percent said they trust Sacramento to do the right thing only some or none of the time.

The survey results were released the same week as a Washington Post poll that found the majority of Americans view federal employees unfavorably. In California, the negativity toward state lawmakers is even higher than toward feds.

In Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's last months in office, his approval rating among likely voters is 29 percent. The number is even more dismal for state lawmakers, who received an approval rating of only 10 percent.

President Barack Obama received a 49 percent approval rating from likely voters in California. Nationwide, 45 percent approve of the job he is doing. Only 26 percent of Californians approve of federal legislators' job performance.

California voters are "united in their unhappiness with elected officials and the direction of government -- but divided about the leadership they want to help meet the challenges in their lives," said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO, in a release.

In the governor's race, Democrat Jerry Brown has widened his lead over Republican Meg Whitman, but Democratic incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer's edge over Carly Fiorina has narrowed.

Californians' unfavorable rating has increased for the major parties (62 percent for the Republican Party, 51 percent for the Democratic Party and 47 percent for the Tea Party.)

"That lack of public confidence will be an overarching challenge for the new governor to carry out their agenda," according to an editorial in the Sacramento Bee.

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