Nearly half call Watergate 'just politics'

Forty-six percent of people believe the events leading up to the resignation of President Nixon were "just politics," according to a new poll that coincides with the 40th anniversary of his stepping down. 

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The CNN poll found a narrow majority, 51 percent, believe the Watergate scandal was a serious matter, while slightly fewer describe it as the kind of thing in which both parties engage. 

Another 3 percent had no opinion. 

Those numbers have been relatively constant over the last three decades. When the question was asked in 1982 — eight years after Nixon resigned — 52 percent said it was a very serious matter, while 45 percent described it as just politics. 

Trust in government today is far below what it was in 1974, when Nixon resigned. 

Thirteen percent of people today say they trust the federal government to do the right thing most of the time. Another 76 percent trust it some of the time, while 10 percent never trust the government to do the right thing. 

Though that number dropped in 1974, 36 percent still trusted the government to do the right thing most of the time. Sixty-one percent trusted it some of the time, while only 1 percent never trusted the government. 

The poll surveyed 899 register voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.