Survey Finds Public Trust in Government Remains Near Historic Lows

(CN) – The 2016 election ushered in a new era in Washington, bolstering Republicans’ opinion of the federal government, but overall, faith in our lawmakers remains near historic lows, a national survey released Wednesday reveals.

The Pew Research Center’s sampling of public opinion about the government was conducted April 5-11 among 1,501 adults.

The study found somewhat more Republicans express trust in government today than did so prior to the November election, while views among Democrats have moved in the opposite direction.

For the first time since George W. Bush’s presidency, Republicans (28 percent) are more likely than Democrats (15 percent) to say they can trust the government in Washington to do the right thing just about always or most of the time.

The share of Democrats expressing trust in government is among the lowest levels for members of the party dating back nearly six decades.
The survey also found that the overall level of trust in government remains near historic lows.

Just 20 percent say they trust the government to do what’s right always or most of the time. Far more (68 percent) say they trust the government only some of the time.

And Eleven percent said they never trust the government to do what’s right.
As was the case prior to last fall’s election, the public’s feelings about government tend more toward frustration than anger.

Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said they are frustrated with the federal government, while relatively few say they are either angry (22 percent) or basically content (19 percent).

On both measures of trust in government and emotional reactions to government, improving views among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents have been offset by more negative views among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, resulting in overall assessments that are little different than in previous years.
The survey also identified a substantial change in partisan attitudes regarding the country’s future.

Overall, 41 percent of survey participants said they have “quite a lot” of confidence in the future of the U.S., while 30 percent have some confidence.

About a quarter (28 percent) say they have little or no confidence in the country’s future, up from just 15% in the fall of 2015.

Since then, the share of Republicans expressing quite a lot of confidence in the nation’s future has increased 19 percentage points (from 40 percent to 59 percent), while falling 22 points among Democrats (50 percent to 28 percent).
The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points for results based on the full sample.

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