Pollsters from Across the Political Spectrum Say that Americans Distrust Government
For years, “conservative” pollsters have said that Americans are furious at the government:
- Rasmussen noted in 2010 that only a small minority of the American people think that the government has the consent of the governed, and that the sentiment was “pre-revolutionary”
- Gallup noted in 2011 that a higher percentage of American liked King George during the colonial days than currently like Congress
- And last year, Gallup noted that trust was plummeting in virtually all institutions
Liberals may be tempted to think that this is a slanted perspective. But non-partisan and liberal pollsters are saying the same thing:
- An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll from 2011 found that 76% of Americans believe that the country’s current financial and political structures favor the rich over the rest of the country
- The Washington Post reported in 2011 that Congress was less popular than communism, BP during the Gulf oil spill or Nixon during Watergate
- Public Policy Polling added last month that Congress is also less popular than cockroaches, lice, root canals, colonoscopies, traffic jams, used car salesman and Genghis Khan
- And the liberal Pew Charitable Trusts noted last week that – for the first time – a majority of the public says that the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms:
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 9-13 among 1,502 adults, finds that 53% think that the federal government threatens their own personal rights and freedoms while 43% disagree.
In March 2010, opinions were divided over whether the government represented a threat to personal freedom; 47% said it did while 50% disagreed. In surveys between 1995 and 2003, majorities rejected the idea that the government threatened people’s rights and freedoms.
The survey finds continued widespread distrust in government. About a quarter of Americans (26%) trust the government in Washington to do the right thing just about always or most of the time; 73% say they can trust the government only some of the time or volunteer that they can never trust the government.
Majorities across all partisan and demographic groups express little or no trust in government.
Obviously, Democrats are currently more trusting in government than Republicans. For example:
The Pew Research Center’s 2010 study of attitudes toward government found that, since the 1950s, the party in control of the White House has expressed more trust in government than the so-called “out party.”
But given that even a growing percentage of Dems believe that government is a threat to their freedom, things are indeed getting interesting …