In a recent poll, YouGov asked 1,000 Americans their opinions on 18 federal government agencies and departments that have been the subject of controversy in recent years. This includes agencies including the U.S. Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Homeland Security. The findings show that Americans are most likely to trust NASA and NOAA, and least likely to trust ICE and the IRS. We also find that Republicans are far less trusting of most government agencies than Democrats are, with the exception of agencies focused on enforcing laws around immigration.
Of the agencies polled, Americans say they are most trusting of those with science-oriented missions, including NASA and NOAA. Among the least trusted are agencies associated with law enforcement or oversight, such as ICE, the IRS, and the DOJ.
Republicans are more likely to distrust than to trust most of the agencies we asked about. The agency with the highest net trust rating among Republicans is NASA (+37), followed by NOAA (+19). The only other agencies Republicans are significantly more likely to trust than distrust are Customs and Border Protection (CBP) (+8) and the Department of Defense (DOD) (+7). The agencies least likely to be trusted by Republicans (less than -25 net trust) include the CDC, the Department of Justice, the Department of Education, the Department of State, the IRS, the FBI, and the EPA.
Democrats are more likely to trust than distrust all but one of the agencies asked about. The exception to higher levels of trust than distrust among Democrats is ICE, which receives a net trust score of -12. The most trusted agencies among Democrats include NASA and NOAA (which are the two most trusted by Republicans), as well as the EPA, or the Environmental Protection Agency (which is among the least trusted by Republicans). The only two agencies that received higher net trust scores among Republicans than among Democrats are CBP and ICE, though the partisan gap for each agency is modest. The agency with the largest partisan gap in net-trust ratings is the CDC, which receives a -38 score among Republicans (lowest of agencies polled) and a +63 score among Democrats (second highest, after NASA).
- Carl Bialik contributed to this article
Methodology: This U.S. News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online from April 4 - 7, 2022. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the 2018 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as news interest and 2020 Presidential votes (or non-votes). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. citizens. The margin of error is approximately 4% for the entire sample.