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Americans Express Record-Low Confidence in Government

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Amid a still-recovering economy and concerns over a possible confrontation with Syria, a new poll by Gallup suggests that Americans have a record low level of confidence in the government. Released on Friday, the survey shows that less than half the public has even a fair amount of confidence in the government’s ability to handle domestic or international matters.

For the first time in at least 40 years, less than half of Americans trust the government to handle international problems, according to the poll. Just 49% of the public has at least a fair amount of confidence in America’s ability to handle foreign conflicts, down from the previous low of 51% recorded in 2007. The poll, first recorded in 1972 as the Vietnam War was ending, has fluctuated tremendously over the years, but never dipped below 50%. The historical high came in October 2001 when 83% of those polls expressed a confidence in the government’s ability to handle international matters.

On the domestic front, the same survey revealed a declining confidence in the government’s ability to handle domestic problems as well, with just 42% of respondents expressing even a fair amount of confidence, also the lowest point in the survey’s history.

A partisan divide was evident, with more Democrats than Republicans expressing confidence during President Obama administration and vice versa with Republicans, but both groups exhibited a declining confidence.

AEI