Americans’ trust in government and politics drops even lower | Courthouse News Service
Thursday, November 30, 2023
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Americans’ trust in government and politics drops even lower

When the Pew Research Center asked 8,000 Americans to describe politics in a word, the most common responses were "divisive" and "corrupt."

(CN) — Most Americans agree with the sentiment that politics refers to many — poli — blood-sucking creatures — tics. Research published by Pew on Tuesday quantifies Americans’ all-time-low view of politics at a time when voter turnout has never been higher.

Two-thirds of Americans polled told Pew they are exhausted by politics. More than half said politics make them feel angry. Only 10% of people said politics inspired hope and even fewer considered the matter exciting. Given the open-ended question to describe politics in one word, hundreds of people said divisive and corrupt. Many also called politics messy, confusing, broken, and a joke.

“Majorities say the political process is dominated by special interests, flooded with campaign cash and mired in partisan warfare,” the report concludes. “Elected officials are widely viewed as self-serving and ineffective."

Researchers drew data from 5,115 adults surveyed in June and polled 8,480 adults about their political sentiments in July as part of the American Trends Panel.

Trust in the federal government has steadily declined over the last two decades, and currently sits at an all time low with just 16% reporting they have confidence in governing institutions.

Eighty-six percent of people surveyed agreed with the statement, “Republicans and Democrats are more focused on fighting each other than on solving problems.”

Two-thirds of respondents expressed little or no confidence in the future of American politics, and only 4% said the system is working well.

Five months before primary voting begins for the 2024 presidential election, 63% of people surveyed said they don’t see any candidates on the presidential field who they want to vote for.

“Our elected officials would rather play political games than serve the needs of their constituents," one 50-year-old woman told Pew.

Circle size indicates relative frequency of a word in response to an open-ended question asked by Pew during a July poll (Pew Research Center)

And it’s not just one political party — dissatisfaction with the government and politics is a bipartisan issue. One in four Americans say neither the Democratic nor the Republican Party represents their views. Nearly 30% of people said they dislike both of the nation’s leading political parties.

Two in five respondents said they want other parties to choose from. One in four people thought supporting more political parties would make it easier to solve problems, but a near equal share think that more parties would make it harder to solve problems.

Pew also identified key trends growing among Democratic and Republican voters. Between May 2022 and this past June, a growing number of Democrats — a 23-point increase — said they were worried “the rights and protections a person has might differ by state.” At the same time more Republicans said they thought “the federal government was doing too much on issues better left to the states.”

In line with these views, thousands of Americans told Pew researchers they support limiting political power from imposing age and term limits to dismantling the Electoral College.

Watching former-president Donald Trump, 77, campaigning to unseat President Joe Biden, 80, nearly 80% of Americans support imposing a maximum age to hold office in Washington D.C. Eying lifelong terms given to Supreme Court justices, 75% of Americans support age limits for judges, including 82% of Democrats and 68% of Republicans.

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Categories / Government, National, Politics

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