A new Pew Research Center poll (here) found that "the favorable rating for the federal government has fallen to just 33%; nearly twice as many (62%) have an unfavorable view."
That's the lowest rate in fifteen years. And it is specifically the federal level of government that has fallen in the public's opinion; the same poll found that state and local governments are pretty well-regarded.
Some of this is simply partisan, and varies depending on which party has the White House:
In the current survey, 51% of Democrats have a favorable opinion of the federal government in Washington, compared with 27% of independents and just 20% of Republicans. This contrasts with partisan views of the federal government when George W. Bush was president. As recently as 2008, Republicans held a more favorable opinion of the federal government in Washington (53%) than did Democrats (29%).
Some of it also seems to relate to disillusionment with President Obama among Democrats and Independents:
Since Barack Obama’s first year in office, public assessments of the federal government have dropped nine-points, with most of the change among Democrats and independents. In 2009, 61% of Democrats and 35% of independents had favorable opinions of the federal government in Washington, those figures stand at 51% and 27%, respectively, today. Republicans’ views, already low in 2009, have shown less change.
Maybe we feds need to refresh our brand. Putting on my Don Draper hat, pouring myself a Scotch, and lighting up a smoke, I'll start the ball rolling by throwing out a few ideas:
How about, "We’re the Federal government, and we’re here to help"
No. Too 1960s.
"The people who brought you Shock and Awe"
That one has potential with Republicans and pro-defense Democrats. Run it up the flag pole and see who salutes.
"Large and in charge"
Maybe. Appeals to big-spenders and pro-regulation types; test market it in Blue states.
"To know us is to love us"
Forget it. Begging won't help.
"You know you want us"
That one works. Maybe with some imagery of Interstate highways, national defense, moon landings, that kind of thing.
"We’re not as bad as you think"
No. Never complain, never explain.
"It’s good to be the King"
"Did we say E Pluribus Unum? Make that E Pluribus You da’ Man!"
That's it! That's the campaign.