Americans And Their Government: 70% Say It Doesn’t Care What They Think

August 09, 2011, 5:00 PM GMT+0

The debt ceiling debate underscores what has been a long-term feeling among Americans — government (federal and state) doesn’t care and can’t be trusted. In this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll, lack of trust remains high.

Only 7% trust the government in Washington to do what’s right most of the time. State governments fare marginally better: 14% trust them to do what’s right most of the time. And when it comes to representing their interests, the assessment is just as bad: 5% trust the government in Washington to represent their interests and 11% trust their state governments to do that. 

In part, this may be because Americans don’t see public officials as caring about them or caring about what the people want. 23% believe public officials care at least somewhat about what the people think, but 70% say they care little or not at all. 

The belief that public officials don’t care is bi-partisan: Republicans and Democrats agree. Independents are especially negative about whether public officials care: only 19% of independents say they care even somewhat.

Overall, opinion of state governors is divided. 37% approve of the way their state’s governor is doing his or her job; 36% disapprove. But like the difference between assessments of the President and Congress, Governors do better than their legislatures do: 26% approve of how their state legislatures are doing their job; 40% disapprove. Still, that is a far better rating than the 8% approval Congress gets. 

Full datasets for Economist/YouGov polls can be found here.

Photo source: Press Association

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