Trust in government near all-time low: poll

The flags fly at half-staff over the White House
Associated Press/Alex Brandon
The flags fly at half-staff over the White House by order of President Biden on May 25, 2022, in Washington.

Americans’ trust in their government, which has declined for decades, is approaching an all-time low, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center released Monday.

The poll’s history shows that Americans’ trust in the federal government has remained low throughout the majority of the 21st century, particularly since former President George W. Bush took office.

In the most recent survey, just 20 percent of Americans agree with Pew’s polling statement that “they trust the government in Washington to do the right thing just about always or most of the time,” while only 6 percent of Americans agree that they trust the federal government to “be careful with taxpayer money” and only 8 percent believe that the government is “being responsive to the needs of ordinary Americans.”

The 20 percent is just slightly better than the record low of 15 percent who said “they trust the government in Washington to do the right thing just about always or most of the time” in 2010.

There are a few issues that the federal government continues to poll well in, including those having to do with international affairs or national security issues.

About 70 percent of Americans approve of the U.S. government’s handling of keeping the country safe from terrorism as well as responding to natural disasters.

Along party lines, respondents from both parties agree with the sentiment that the government does not do enough to address issues of concern for many populations, including retirees, rural residents, suburbanites and middle-income people, and the only group that Americans see as the government serving too much is those with high incomes.

Republicans and Democrats also both agree by more than 50 percent that the government does too little to address the concerns of “people like you,” according to Pew, showing dissatisfaction on a personal level with the government’s actions.

Overall, trust in government has fluctuated by party depending on who is controlling the White House. Democrats’ trust fell to 12 percent during Trump’s time in office, while currently Republicans’ trust is at a mere 9 percent with President Biden in the Oval Office, Pew reports.

Pew surveyed 5,074 U.S. adults in April and May through an online survey screening. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Tags Approval poll federal government federal government George W. Bush Government government spending Pew Research pew research center Pew Research Center Poll Polling United States Washington D.C.

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