Trust in judgment of American public, confidence in politicians at new lows: poll

Americans’ confidence in elected leaders and the American public has dropped to a new low, according to a new Gallup poll out Thursday.

Only 44 percent of U.S. adults say they have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in those who are running for or serve in elected office, just two points shy of a record low in 2016, the Gallup poll revealed.

Fifty-five percent of respondents expressed similar confidence in their judgment of the American public under the democratic system, dropping 1 percentage point from the 2020 results to a record low.

Gallup’s measurement on this trend dates back to 1972 for politicians and 1974 for voters’ confidence in the public. While the results seem to reflect an ongoing decline in confidence in politicians and the public, Americans have consistently been more likely to trust the American public over its elected officials.

Confidence in politicians hit its peak of 68 percent in 1974, while confidence in the American public peaked at 86 percent in 1976.

Trust in the public’s judgment has declined across party lines for the past two decades. Results have shown people tend to express more confidence when their party is in office. Independents tend to have less confidence in the American public than Democrats and Republicans.

However, confidence in politicians varies by party identification. While both parties in the early 2000s expressed a similar level of trust in elected leaders, Republican confidence in the public dropped after President Obama’s election in 2008. The latest poll found 64 percent of Democrats say they are confident in politicians, while only 39 percent of Republicans say the same. The 25-point gap is one of the largest Gallup has ever recorded.

Only 34 percent of independents expressed trust in running and elected officials. 

Gallup’s poll was conducted Sept. 1-17 among 1,005 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. 

Tags American public Barack Obama Gallup poll politicians

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