American public deeply cynical about US government: Poll
The American people are deeply pessimistic about the US government and their trust in the country’s political leaders continues to be at historically low levels, according to a new national survey.
Only 19 percent of the US public say they can trust the government always or most of the time, among the lowest levels in the past 50 years, a poll by the Pew Research Center has found.
Just 20 percent of Americans would describe government programs as being well-run and 59 percent say it is in need of “very major reform,” according to the Pew survey, which was conducted between August 27 and October 4, 2015 and published on Monday.
US elected officials are viewed so poorly that 55 percent of the public says “ordinary Americans” would do a better job of solving national problems.
Fewer than 30 percent of Americans have expressed trust in the federal government in every major national poll conducted since 2007, the longest period of low trust in government in more than half a century, Pew said.
“The erosion of public trust in government began in the 1960s,” Pew said. “By the end of the 1970s, only about a quarter of Americans felt that they could trust the government at least most of the time.”
For years, the public’s general feelings about government have tended toward frustration and anger. Currently, 57 percent say they are “frustrated” and 22 percent say they are “angry” at the federal government.
Elected officials are “selfish” and “not honest”
A large majority of the public, 72 percent, also views elected officials as “selfish,” but that criticism is not unique to politicians. Similar percentages also say the term applies to typical Americans and business leaders.
Only 22 percent of Americans believe that most elected officials put the interests of the nation ahead of their own interests, while 74 percent say they put their own interests ahead of the country’s.
Increasingly, Americans even express less confidence in their owncollective political wisdom. Just 34 percent say they have a very great deal or good deal of confidence in the wisdom of the American people when it comes to making political decisions, while 63 percent have little or no confidence.