Tags: poll | trust | government | dismal

New Poll: Only 19% of Americans Trust Govt to Do Right

Friday, 18 Oct 2013 05:46 PM

By Cathy Burke

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A new national survey released Friday found just 19 percent of Americans say they trust Washington to do what’s right most of the time – the latest in a series of dismal results from polls tracking the nation’s tanking trust in its federal government.

"The share of the public saying they are angry at the federal government, which equaled an all-time high in late September (26 percent), has ticked up to 30 percent,” the Pew Research Center analysis noted. “Another 55 percent say they are frustrated with the government. Just 12 percent say they are basically content with the federal government."

The survey, conducted Oct. 9-13, found that, despite the negative views of the federal government, Americans like many of its agencies and departments, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earning a 75 percent favorable view, while IRS was in the basement with only a 44 percent favorable view.

Federal workers also earned positive numbers: 62 percent view them positively. Congress flunked, with just 23 percent of Americans having a favorable opinion.

“In general, the public continues to blame lawmakers themselves – rather than the political system more generally – for the problems in Congress,” the analysis said. “Nearly six-in-10 (58 percent) say ‘the political system can work fine, it’s the members of Congress that are the problem.’ Just 32 percent say ‘most members of Congress have good intentions, it’s the political system that is broken.’ ”

America’s faith in its government has been flagging in general, polls have found.

A September 2011 CNN/ORC poll, conducted during President Barack Obama’s first term, found that "only 15 percent of Americans say they trust the government in Washington to do what's right just about always or most of the time," down from 25 percent the year before, The Atlantic Wire pointed out.

And a June 2013 Rasmussen Reports poll found only 24 percent of likely voters trusted the government to do the right thing most or all of the time.

A Pew Research interactive graph also documented the loss of Americans’ loss of faith in its leaders since November 1958, showing a roller-coaster trend that is generally headed south. Since Johnson, no president has enjoyed an average level of public trust in his government over 60 percent, the graph shows.

Gallup also has been watching the tanking trust issue, finding late in September, in the midst of the battle over the federal debt limit, the budget, the rollout of the healthcare law, and the situation in Syria, trust in all three branches of the federal government was on the lower end of what Gallup has measured historically.

Americans' trust in the executive and judicial branches of the federal government were down 5 percentage points in 2013, to 51 percent and 62 percent respectively. Gallup found trust in the legislative branch was the lowest of the three, at 34 percent, unchanged from 2012, it found.

National Review columnist Mark Steyn said on "The Hugh Hewitt Show" that such sentiments were reflected in the push by House Republicans to use the power of the purse to pursue policy positions, the Daily Caller reported Friday.

“[W]e keep telling the world that we’re not capable of serious course correction,” he said on Hewitt's radio show Thursday. “And that’s a problem. And I well understand why people like Ted Cruz get impatient with it. They’re right to be impatient with it.”

“Right now, the governing institutions of the United States are utterly repulsive and disgusting.”

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