Pollsters say Americans have more trust in local government than in federal government

Republican pollster Ed Goeas said in an interview that aired on “What America’s Thinking” on Thursday that voters tend to trust their local government more than the federal government. 

“The local level is totally different. If you ask a question [on] where do you think government and individuals come together, they say in their community, and so there is a bias toward local,” Goeas told Hill.TV’s Joe Concha.

A Gallup poll released earlier this month found that 72 percent of Americans said they had a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in their local government, while 63 percent of Americans said the same of their state government.  

But Americans’ level of trust in institutions connected to the federal government are lower, according to another Gallup survey. 

Forty percent of Americans said they had trust in the legislative branch, while 42 percent said they had confidence in the executive branch, and 68 percent said they had confidence in the judicial branch. 

Pollster Mark Penn told Concha that trust could be higher in local government because voters have a better sense of how taxpayer money is being spent. 

“People see what the local government does, and when a local road is built, they don’t see the federal contribution to that road. So in many ways, the federal government looks opaque in terms of what it’s really doing,” Penn said. 

“We’re really spending money on our schools, and on our roads, and fighting crime, and on our local police, and our fire department. All things they can see. Who knows what they’re doing at the federal government,” he said. 

— Julia Manchester