The net satisfaction rating fell one point to 20% between October 1999 and last month.
Although the fall is marginal, it confirms that last year's sharp downturn in council popularity marked the end of an eight-year trend of improved public satisfaction.
The decline was particularly sharp in the north-east, prompting MORI local government director Ben Page to suggest councils are falling victim to frustration in Labour's heartlands at the slow pace of service improvement.
Satisfaction in the north-east fell from 39% to 29%, with smaller falls in Scotland, Wales, Yorkshire, London and the south-west. Meanwhile, the Cabinet Office's people's panel has revealed ethnic minorities consider councils - particularly housing departments - less responsive to their needs than the police or immigration services.
Housing departments easily scored the worst on a long list of public services, with 28% saying they responded poorly to the needs of minority ethnic or religious groups.
This compared to 14% for the immigration service, 15% for councils generally, and 17% for the police.