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Trust in democratic governments at record low: survey

The American flag is seen at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax, Va,, on Friday, September 17, 2021.
Greg Nash

Public trust in democratic governments in countries like the United States and Germany has fallen to record lows, according to a new survey.

The 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer report, which measures average trust in institutions such as governments, media outlets, NGOs and businesses, found that trust fell the most for Germany (7 percentage points), Australia and the Netherlands (6 points each), and South Korea and the United States (5 points each), compared to where they stood in 2021.

Among the countries that saw gains in trust were China (11 percentage points), the United Arab Emirates (9 points) and Thailand (5 points.)

According to the survey, the U.S. Trust Index declined 10 points since 2017.

The decline in trust of democratic governments was linked to how these institutions responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, Reuters noted, adding that the survey was conducted amid concerns about the economy.

Richard Edelman, CEO of the communications firm that published the survey, told the news service that he believes China scored better in the poll because “there is a coherence between what is done and what is said” when it comes to Beijing’s policies.

The new polling comes amid politically fraught tensions within the United States, which has grappled with an insurrection at the Capitol only a year ago over the 2020 presidential election results, division within its political parties and a global pandemic. 

The 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer survey was conducted between Nov. 1 and Nov. 24 with 28 countries and over 36,000 respondents. The margin of error is 0.6 percentage points. 

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