CNN Poll: Only quarter of public trusts government

CNN Politics (Link) - Paul Steinhauser (September 14, 2010)

 A new poll indicates that only one in four Americans say they trust the government to do what is right always or most of the time, one explanation for the anti-incumbent sentiment in the country today.

According to CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey released Tuesday, 25 percent of the public indicates that they trust the government in Washington to do what�s is right most or all of the time, with 66 percent saying they trust the government to do what�s right only some of the time and eight percent saying they never trust the government.

Full results [pdf]

�That lack of trust in government is not a recent phenomenon - except for a brief spike fueled by patriotism immediately after 9/11, a majority have not trusted the government since the early 1970s,� says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

But the recession appears to have made matters worse.

�Ten years ago, roughly four in ten said they trusted the government always or most of the time; that number dropped to the mid-to-low 30�s in the middle part of the decade, but then dropped to the 20s in 2008, where it has stayed ever since. The all-time low in CNN polls was in the summer of 1994 - just before Newt Gingrich led the GOP to take control on Capitol Hill - when only 17 percent said they trusted the government most or all of the time,� adds Holland.

The survey indicates a partisan divide, with Democrats expressing more trust in the government, but even among Democrats, only four in ten express that level of trust in government.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted September 1-2, with 1,024 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey�s overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.