Trust in government worse than after Watergate

It's actually the worst in the history of the CNN poll question. Just 15% of Americans trust the government all or most of the time. This is down from 25% last year at this time:

In the past five years the number who say they trust the government "always" or "most of the time" was usually in the low-to-mid 20's. Before the recession hit that number was usually in the low-to-mid 30's, and slightly more than a decade ago, it was in the high 30's or occasionally just over 40 percent.

"The previous all-time low was 17 percent, set in the summer of 1994," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Before the Watergate scandal, a majority of Americans said they trusted the government always or most of the time, but since 1974 that has happened only during a brief period in 2001 immediately after the 9/11 terrorism attacks."

The survey was conducted Friday through Sunday, during the congressional standoff between Democrats and Republicans over disaster relief funding threatened to possibly force a federal government shutdown. An agreement preventing a government shutdown was reached late Monday night.

The poll indicates a partisan divide when it comes to trust.

"Not surprisingly, Democrats are more likely to trust the federal government than Republicans, but even among Democrats, more than two-thirds say they rarely trust the government," adds Holland.

The "government" is a nebulous term and people might be thinking about which political party is in control when they give their answer. But given what we've seen with other polls about the size of government, it's potential to harm the liberty of the people, and it's clear overreach, these numbers are not surprising at all.


It's actually the worst in the history of the CNN poll question. Just 15% of Americans trust the government all or most of the time. This is down from 25% last year at this time:

In the past five years the number who say they trust the government "always" or "most of the time" was usually in the low-to-mid 20's. Before the recession hit that number was usually in the low-to-mid 30's, and slightly more than a decade ago, it was in the high 30's or occasionally just over 40 percent.

"The previous all-time low was 17 percent, set in the summer of 1994," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Before the Watergate scandal, a majority of Americans said they trusted the government always or most of the time, but since 1974 that has happened only during a brief period in 2001 immediately after the 9/11 terrorism attacks."

The survey was conducted Friday through Sunday, during the congressional standoff between Democrats and Republicans over disaster relief funding threatened to possibly force a federal government shutdown. An agreement preventing a government shutdown was reached late Monday night.

The poll indicates a partisan divide when it comes to trust.

"Not surprisingly, Democrats are more likely to trust the federal government than Republicans, but even among Democrats, more than two-thirds say they rarely trust the government," adds Holland.

The "government" is a nebulous term and people might be thinking about which political party is in control when they give their answer. But given what we've seen with other polls about the size of government, it's potential to harm the liberty of the people, and it's clear overreach, these numbers are not surprising at all.


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