IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Public trust in government keeps falling

Just 13% of Americans believe the government can be trusted to do the right thing always or most of the time, a new CNN/ORC International poll revealed Friday.
The Capitol Building in Washington.
The Capitol Building in Washington.

Americans don't have much faith in government, according to a new CNN/ORC International poll released on Friday.

A mere 13% of respondents said they trust that the government will do the right thing always or most of the time — an all-time low, the poll found.

The figure is not exactly surprising. Gridlock in Washington continues to deepen, with each new Congress achieving even less than the one before it. The American public learned in granular detail last summer that the National Security Agency has been scooping up vast amounts of data from Americans through its surveillance operations. And the roll out of President Obama's signature health care law was marred by website malfunctions.

The poll's release was timed just before the 40th anniversary of President Nixon’s resignation following the infamous Watergate scandal, which rocked the public's trust in the government. 

And while we may still add "-gate" to the end of every suggestion of corruption, age has a lot to do with people's views on the Watergate affair. A majority of respondents younger than 40 said it was just politics, while those older than 40 said the scandal was a serious issue.

"Polls conducted by the University of Michigan consistently found a majority of Americans in the 1960s and early 1970s saying that the government could be trusted all or most of the time — until Watergate," said CNN polling director Keating Holland in the poll's analysis.

The poll surveyed 1012 adults by telephone between July 18 and July 20, and its margin of error was +/- 3 points.