Politics

New Poll Shows U.S. Public Distrust Government, Could Impact 2016 Election

| by Robert Fowler
Pew Research Center PollPew Research Center Poll

A Nov. 23 survey released by the Pew Research Center shows that pessimism for the U.S. federal government has reached alarming levels. As the 2016 presidential election nears, the public’s distrust of government could impact which new direction the country takes.

Only 19 percent of respondents say that they trust the government always or most of the time. This is a precipitous drop from October 2001, when 60 percent of the U.S. public had trust in the government after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, NBC News reports.

The Pew poll shows that 26 percent of Democrats have confidence in the federal government while only 11 percent of Republicans agree.

The public’s disillusionment is largely influenced by the big money in politics. 76 percent of respondents believe that “money has a greater influence of politics and elected officials today than in the past,” according to NBC News.

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Roughly three out of four respondents agree that government is “run by a few big interests looking for themselves” instead of “for the benefit of all the people,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

While the public overwhelmingly distrust the government, they give it a good job rating on some responsibilities. Roughly three out of four respondents believe that the government handles security well, be it protecting citizens from terrorism, enforcing food safety or responding to natural disasters, according to the Los Angeles Times

However, while there is a bipartisan consensus on government making the U.S. safe, there is sharp partisan divide on issues like the economy and health care, with Democrats and Republicans disagreeing on the government’s efficiency, NBC News reports.

Roughly two-thirds of the public feels that their side loses on the important issues. There does not even seem to be much optimism amongst young people, with only 38 percent of adults younger than thirty admitting they have “quite a lot” of confidence in the future of America, according to NBC News.

The public’s discontent with government could impact the general presidential election in November 2016. The general mood could impact the eventual Democratic presidential nominee due to the party’s association with big government.

Two recent polls conducted by Florida Atlantic University and Quinnipiac University show Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton trailing behind GOP candidates in both Florida and Colorado, two crucial swing states according to The Hill.

Sources: The Hill, Los Angeles Times, NBC News, Pew Research Center / Photo Credit: Pew Research Center