Only 17% of the United States’ public today say they can trust the government in Washington to do what is right “just about always” (3%) or “most of the time” (14%), according to Pew Research Center. This makes the statistics at near historic lows.
But Donald Trump’s government is not the only one with remarkably low trust levels. This has been the case for more than a decade. Since 2007, two years before the end of George W. Bush’s tenure, the people saying they can trust the government always or most of the time has not surpassed 30%.
Throughout Barack Obama’s tenure, more Democrats than Republicans reported trusting the government, though that has flipped since Trump’s election.
When the National Election Study began asking about trust in government in 1958, about three-quarters of Americans trusted the federal government to do the right thing almost always or most of the time, PEW said. Trust in government began eroding during the 1960s, amid the escalation of the Vietnam War, and the decline continued in the 1970s with the Watergate scandal. Public trust reached a three-decade high shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but declined quickly thereafter.