November 23, 2015

Public Trust in Government: 1958-2015

Public trust in the government remains near historic lows. Only 19% of Americans today say they can trust the government in Washington to do what is right “just about always” (3%) or “most of the time” (16%).

Public trust in government near historic lows

Date . Individual polls Moving average
10/04/2015 PEW 19 19
7/20/2014 CNN 14 19
2/26/2014 PEW 24 18
11/15/2013 CBS/NYT 17 20
10/13/2013 PEW 19 19
5/31/2013 CBS/NYT 20 20
2/06/2013 CBS/NYT 20 22
1/13/2013 PEW 26 23
10/31/2012 NES 22 19
10/19/2011 CBS/NYT 10 17
10/04/2011 PEW 20 15
9/23/2011 CNN 15 18
8/21/2011 PEW 19 21
2/28/2011 PEW 29 23
10/21/2010 CBS/NYT 22 23
10/01/2010 CBS/NYT 18 21
9/06/2010 PEW 24 23
9/01/2010 CNN 25 23
4/05/2010 CBS/NYT 20 23
4/05/2010 PEW 25 22
3/21/2010 PEW 22 24
2/12/2010 CNN 26 22
2/05/2010 CBS/NYT 19 21
1/10/2010 GALLUP 19 20
12/20/2009 CNN 20 21
8/31/2009 CBS/NYT 24 22
6/12/2009 CBS/NYT 20 23
12/21/2008 CNN 26 25
10/15/2008 NES 31 24
10/13/2008 CBS/NYT 17 24
7/09/2007 CBS/NYT 24 24
1/09/2007 PEW 31 28
10/08/2006 CBS/NYT 29 29
9/15/2006 CBS/NYT 28 30
2/05/2006 PEW 34 31
1/20/2006 CBS/NYT 32 33
1/06/2006 GALLUP 32 32
12/02/2005 CBS/NYT 32 32
9/11/2005 PEW 31 31
9/09/2005 CBS/NYT 29 30
6/19/2005 GALLUP 30 35
10/15/2004 NES 46 39
7/15/2004 CBS/NYT 40 41
3/21/2004 PEW 36 38
10/26/2003 GALLUP 37 36
7/27/2003 CBS/NYT 36 43
10/15/2002 NES 55 46
9/04/2002 GALLUP 46 46
9/02/2002 CBS/NYT 38 40
7/13/2002 CBS/NYT 38 40
6/17/2002 GALLUP 44 43
1/24/2002 CBS/NYT 46 46
12/07/2001 CBS/NYT 48 49
10/25/2001 CBS/NYT 55 54
10/06/2001 GALLUP 60 49
1/17/2001 CBS/NYT 31 44
10/31/2000 CBS/NYT 40 38
10/15/2000 NES 44 42
7/09/2000 GALLUP 42 39
4/02/2000 ABC/POST 31 38
2/14/2000 PEW 40 34
10/03/1999 CBS/NYT 30 36
9/14/1999 CBS/NYT 38 33
5/16/1999 PEW 31 33
2/21/1999 PEW 31 31
2/12/1999 ABC/POST 32 32
2/04/1999 GALLUP 33 34
1/10/1999 CBS/NYT 37 34
1/03/1999 CBS/NYT 33 37
12/01/1998 NES 40 33
11/15/1998 PEW 26 30
11/01/1998 CBS/NYT 24 26
10/26/1998 CBS/NYT 26 28
8/10/1998 ABC/POST 34 31
2/22/1998 PEW 34 35
2/01/1998 GALLUP 39 33
1/25/1998 CBS/NYT 26 32
1/19/1998 ABC/POST 31 32
10/31/1997 PEW 39 31
8/27/1997 ABC/POST 22 31
6/01/1997 GALLUP 32 26
1/14/1997 CBS/NYT 23 27
11/02/1996 CBS/NYT 25 27
10/15/1996 NES 33 28
5/12/1996 GALLUP 27 31
5/06/1996 ABC/POST 34 29
11/19/1995 ABC/POST 25 27
8/07/1995 GALLUP 22 22
8/05/1995 CBS/NYT 20 21
3/19/1995 ABC/POST 22 20
2/22/1995 CBS/NYT 18 21
12/01/1994 NES 22 21
10/29/1994 CBS/NYT 22 22
10/23/1994 ABC/POST 22 20
6/06/1994 GALLUP 17 19
1/30/1994 GALLUP 19 20
1/20/1994 ABC/POST 24 22
3/24/1993 GALLUP 22 25
1/17/1993 ABC/POST 28 25
1/14/1993 CBS/NYT 24 25
10/23/1992 CBS/NYT 22 25
10/15/1992 NES 29 25
6/08/1992 GALLUP 23 29
10/20/1991 ABC/POST 35 35
3/06/1991 CBS/NYT 47 42
3/01/1991 ABC/POST 45 46
1/27/1991 ABC/POST 46 40
12/01/1990 NES 28 33
10/28/1990 CBS/NYT 25 32
9/06/1990 ABC/POST 42 35
1/16/1990 ABC/POST 38 38
6/29/1989 CBS/NYT 35 39
1/15/1989 CBS/NYT 44 41
11/10/1988 CBS/NYT 44 43
10/15/1988 NES 41 41
1/23/1988 ABC/POST 39 40
10/18/1987 CBS/NYT 41 43
6/01/1987 ABC/POST 47 43
3/01/1987 CBS/NYT 42 44
1/21/1987 CBS/NYT 43 43
1/19/1987 ABC/POST 44 42
12/01/1986 NES 39 44
11/30/1986 CBS/NYT 49 43
9/09/1986 ABC/POST 40 44
1/19/1986 CBS/NYT 42 44
11/06/1985 CBS/NYT 49 43
7/29/1985 ABC/POST 38 42
3/21/1985 ABC/POST 37 40
2/27/1985 CBS/NYT 46 42
2/22/1985 ABC/POST 43 45
11/14/1984 CBS/NYT 46 44
10/15/1984 NES 44 41
12/01/1982 NES 33 39
11/07/1980 CBS/NYT 39 32
10/15/1980 NES 25 30
3/12/1980 CBS/NYT 26 27
11/03/1979 CBS/NYT 30 28
12/01/1978 NES 29 31
10/23/1977 CBS/NYT 33 32
4/25/1977 CBS/NYT 35 34
10/15/1976 NES 33 36
9/05/1976 CBS/NYT 40 35
6/15/1976 CBS/NYT 33 35
3/01/1976 GALLUP 33 34
2/08/1976 CBS/NYT 36 35
12/01/1974 NES 36 36
10/15/1972 NES 53 53
12/01/1970 NES 54 54
10/15/1968 NES 62 62
12/01/1966 NES 65 65
10/15/1964 NES 77 77
12/01/1958 NES 73 73

Pew Research Center

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. 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 and worsening economic struggles. Confidence in government recovered in the mid-1980s before falling again in the mid-1990s. But as the economy grew in the late 1990s so too did confidence in government. Public trust reached a three-decade high shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but declined quickly thereafter. Since 2007, the share saying they can trust the government always or most of the time has not surpassed 30%.

Currently, 26% of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents say they can trust the government, compared with 11% of Republicans and Republican-leaners. Throughout Obama’s tenure, more Democrats than Republicans report trusting government. Since the 1970s, trust in government has been consistently higher among members of the party that controls the White House than among the opposition party. However, Republicans are much more reactive than Democrats to changes in political power. Republicans express much higher levels of trust during Republican than during Democratic presidencies, while Democrats’ attitudes tend to be more consistent, regardless of which party controls the White House.

Trust in govt higher among members of party that controls presidency

Date . No partisan lean Democrat/Lean Dem Republican/Lean Rep
10/04/2015 PEW 16 26 11
7/20/2014 CNN 8 17 11
2/26/2014 PEW 19 32 16
11/15/2013 CBS/NYT 12 31 8
10/13/2013 PEW 17 27 10
5/31/2013 CBS/NYT 20 30 8
2/06/2013 CBS/NYT 15 34 8
1/13/2013 PEW 15 37 15
10/31/2012 NES 15 29 16
10/19/2011 CBS/NYT 10 13 8
10/04/2011 PEW 17 27 12
9/23/2011 CNN 6 20 11
8/21/2011 PEW 12 25 13
3/01/2011 PEW 27 34 24
10/21/2010 CBS/NYT 18 36 7
10/01/2010 CBS/NYT 15 27 13
9/06/2010 PEW 15 35 13
9/01/2010 CNN 13 31 18
4/05/2010 CBS/NYT 18 27 14
3/21/2010 PEW 18 32 13
2/12/2010 CNN 19 34 18
2/05/2010 CBS/NYT 17 31 9
1/10/2010 GALLUP 11 23 16
12/20/2009 CNN 15 25 16
8/31/2009 CBS/NYT 22 34 12
6/12/2009 CBS/NYT 12 35 10
12/21/2008 CNN 19 30 22
10/15/2008 NES 28 34 31
10/13/2008 CBS/NYT 28 12 19
7/09/2007 CBS/NYT 22 18 31
1/09/2007 PEW 32 22 43
10/08/2006 CBS/NYT 19 20 50
9/15/2006 CBS/NYT 21 20 44
2/05/2006 PEW 26 20 53
1/20/2006 CBS/NYT 25 23 51
1/06/2006 GALLUP 15 20 44
12/02/2005 CBS/NYT 29 19 52
9/11/2005 PEW 20 19 49
9/09/2005 CBS/NYT 28 21 42
6/19/2005 GALLUP 24 24 36
10/15/2004 NES 42 62 37
3/21/2004 PEW 31 24 55
10/26/2003 GALLUP 22 35 42
7/27/2003 CBS/NYT 29 25 51
10/15/2002 NES 52 52 63
9/04/2002 GALLUP 46 38 55
9/02/2002 CBS/NYT 32 32 52
7/13/2002 CBS/NYT 28 34 45
6/17/2002 GALLUP 40 33 55
1/24/2002 CBS/NYT 37 39 56
12/07/2001 CBS/NYT 45 39 60
10/25/2001 CBS/NYT 50 47 70
10/06/2001 GALLUP 53 52 68
1/17/2001 CBS/NYT 27 26 38
10/15/2000 NES 41 48 43
7/09/2000 GALLUP 40 42 41
4/02/2000 ABC/POST 23 38 24
2/14/2000 PEW 32 46 37
10/03/1999 CBS/NYT 33 31 27
9/14/1999 CBS/NYT 32 42 35
5/16/1999 PEW 21 36 30
2/21/1999 PEW 28 35 25
2/12/1999 ABC/POST 29 41 21
2/04/1999 GALLUP 28 38 29
1/10/1999 CBS/NYT 22 42 33
1/03/1999 CBS/NYT 28 37 29
12/01/1998 NES 39 45 35
11/19/1998 PEW 20 31 23
11/01/1998 CBS/NYT 18 28 22
10/26/1998 CBS/NYT 19 28 25
8/10/1998 ABC/POST 25 40 30
2/22/1998 PEW 25 42 28
2/01/1998 GALLUP 29 52 26
1/25/1998 CBS/NYT 17 31 22
10/31/1997 PEW 31 46 32
6/01/1997 GALLUP 28 39 25
1/14/1997 CBS/NYT 13 29 20
11/02/1996 CBS/NYT 20 31 20
10/15/1996 NES 30 40 27
5/12/1996 GALLUP 22 32 20
5/06/1996 ABC/POST 28 41 35
11/19/1995 ABC/POST 16 27 26
8/07/1995 GALLUP 15 24 21
8/05/1995 CBS/NYT 17 20 20
3/19/1995 ABC/POST 14 27 20
2/22/1995 CBS/NYT 11 18 19
12/01/1994 NES 20 26 18
10/29/1994 CBS/NYT 12 26 19
10/23/1994 ABC/POST 17 27 16
6/06/1994 GALLUP 13 23 11
1/30/1994 GALLUP 15 25 14
1/20/1994 ABC/POST 22 30 18
3/24/1993 GALLUP 14 32 11
1/17/1993 ABC/POST 16 32 25
1/14/1993 CBS/NYT 23 26 21
10/23/1992 CBS/NYT 14 17 31
10/15/1992 NES 24 31 34
6/08/1992 GALLUP 13 17 31
10/20/1991 ABC/POST 29 31 41
3/06/1991 CBS/NYT 38 40 56
3/01/1991 ABC/POST 29 41 52
12/01/1990 NES 27 26 32
10/28/1990 CBS/NYT 23 21 31
9/06/1990 ABC/POST 37 37 48
1/16/1990 ABC/POST 32 32 46
6/29/1989 CBS/NYT 34 27 45
1/15/1989 CBS/NYT 40 37 54
11/10/1988 CBS/NYT 41 36 58
10/15/1988 NES 38 35 51
1/23/1988 ABC/POST 26 31 51
10/18/1987 CBS/NYT 34 36 47
6/01/1987 ABC/POST 46 38 59
3/01/1987 CBS/NYT 40 34 54
1/21/1987 CBS/NYT 45 36 51
1/19/1987 ABC/POST 40 39 51
12/01/1986 NES 36 31 53
11/30/1986 CBS/NYT 54 37 63
9/09/1986 ABC/POST 32 30 51
1/19/1986 CBS/NYT 37 36 51
11/06/1985 CBS/NYT 39 42 59
7/29/1985 ABC/POST 33 30 48
3/21/1985 ABC/POST 31 29 49
2/22/1985 ABC/POST 21 30 62
11/14/1984 CBS/NYT 43 36 59
10/15/1984 NES 42 41 50
12/01/1982 NES 28 32 41
11/07/1980 CBS/NYT 37 40 42
10/15/1980 NES 20 31 23
3/12/1980 CBS/NYT 21 30 22
11/03/1979 CBS/NYT 28 32 28
12/01/1978 NES 27 33 26
10/23/1977 CBS/NYT 30 40 25
4/25/1977 CBS/NYT 32 37 34
10/15/1976 NES 32 30 42
9/05/1976 CBS/NYT 36 38 45
6/15/1976 CBS/NYT 29 36 36
3/01/1976 GALLUP 23 31 40
12/01/1974 NES 36 36 38
10/15/1972 NES 52 48 62
12/01/1970 NES 51 52 61
10/15/1968 NES 56 66 60
12/01/1966 NES 65 71 54
10/15/1964 NES 74 80 73
12/01/1958 NES 71 71 79

Pew Research Center

Trust in government by party and ideology

Date . No partisan lean Liberal Dem/Lean Dem Cons-Moderate Dem/Lean Dem Moderate-Lib Rep/Lean Rep Conservative Rep/Lean Rep
10/04/2015 PEW 16 28 25 14 9
7/20/2014 CNN 8 19 16 15 7
2/26/2014 PEW 19 31 33 21 13
11/15/2013 CBS/NYT 12 38 25 13 5
10/13/2013 PEW 17 25 27 16 7
5/31/2013 CBS/NYT 20 30 30 16 4
2/06/2013 CBS/NYT 15 35 34 9 7
1/13/2013 PEW 15 34 37 17 14
10/31/2012 NES 15 26 32 18 15
10/19/2011 CBS/NYT 10 9 13 11 7
10/04/2011 PEW 17 30 25 14 9
9/23/2011 CNN 6 30 16 11 11
8/21/2011 PEW 12 26 24 18 10
3/01/2011 PEW 27 36 33 32 18
10/21/2010 CBS/NYT 18 37 35 12 4
10/01/2010 CBS/NYT 15 34 22 10 16
9/06/2010 PEW 15 39 31 19 10
9/01/2010 CNN 13 36 30 28 11
4/05/2010 CBS/NYT 18 37 21 23 7
3/21/2010 PEW 18 36 31 19 11
2/12/2010 CNN 19 36 34 25 9
2/05/2010 CBS/NYT 17 31 32 13 7
1/10/2010 GALLUP 11 29 22 20 12
12/20/2009 CNN 15 31 23 18 13
8/31/2009 CBS/NYT 22 38 30 14 10
6/12/2009 CBS/NYT 12 42 34 13 8
12/21/2008 CNN 19 36 28 28 17
10/15/2008 NES 28 37 34 48 28
10/13/2008 CBS/NYT 28 16 12 26 12
7/09/2007 CBS/NYT 22 14 21 38 28
1/09/2007 PEW 32 15 25 41 45
10/08/2006 CBS/NYT 19 14 22 50 51
9/15/2006 CBS/NYT 21 11 23 44 44
2/05/2006 PEW 26 13 23 52 54
1/20/2006 CBS/NYT 25 27 21 52 50
1/06/2006 GALLUP 15 10 26 33 56
12/02/2005 CBS/NYT 29 16 21 60 47
9/11/2005 PEW 20 13 22 39 54
9/09/2005 CBS/NYT 28 12 26 46 41
6/19/2005 GALLUP 24 25 24 31 41
10/15/2004 NES 42 65 61 31 41
3/21/2004 PEW 31 23 24 53 56
10/26/2003 GALLUP 22 23 39 31 52
7/27/2003 CBS/NYT 29 21 27 55 47
10/15/2002 NES 53 53 56 66 61
9/04/2002 GALLUP 46 31 40 50 60
9/02/2002 CBS/NYT 32 32 32 55 53
7/13/2002 CBS/NYT 28 37 33 50 42
6/17/2002 GALLUP 40 30 36 59 55
1/24/2002 CBS/NYT 37 38 39 58 54
12/07/2001 CBS/NYT 45 34 43 61 58
10/06/2001 GALLUP 53 46 55 66 69
1/17/2001 CBS/NYT 27 33 24 41 33
10/15/2000 NES 43 58 52 54 44
7/09/2000 GALLUP 40 41 42 50 35
4/02/2000 ABC/POST 24 38 39 28 20
10/03/1999 CBS/NYT 33 26 33 29 24
9/14/1999 CBS/NYT 32 38 45 42 27
2/12/1999 ABC/POST 29 40 43 26 16
2/04/1999 GALLUP 28 36 40 33 27
1/10/1999 CBS/NYT 22 39 44 40 28
1/03/1999 CBS/NYT 28 34 39 31 26
12/01/1998 NES 39 45 46 39 34
11/01/1998 CBS/NYT 18 28 28 23 22
10/26/1998 CBS/NYT 19 30 28 22 26
8/10/1998 ABC/POST 25 38 35 24 27
2/01/1998 GALLUP 29 55 52 33 23
1/25/1998 CBS/NYT 17 24 31 24 19
6/01/1997 GALLUP 28 41 38 31 21
1/14/1997 CBS/NYT 13 30 28 25 14
11/02/1996 CBS/NYT 20 30 32 21 19
10/15/1996 NES 30 38 39 30 25
5/12/1996 GALLUP 22 25 35 25 18
5/06/1996 ABC/POST 28 41 41 39 33
11/19/1995 ABC/POST 16 26 27 26 28
8/07/1995 GALLUP 15 16 27 17 25
8/05/1995 CBS/NYT 17 21 19 19 23
3/19/1995 ABC/POST 14 24 28 22 17
2/22/1995 CBS/NYT 11 20 18 22 17
12/01/1994 NES 20 22 28 21 16
10/29/1994 CBS/NYT 12 26 27 23 15
10/23/1994 ABC/POST 17 32 25 22 11
6/06/1994 GALLUP 13 16 26 15 9
1/30/1994 GALLUP 15 20 27 18 12
1/20/1994 ABC/POST 22 26 31 25 10
1/17/1993 ABC/POST 16 30 33 28 22
1/14/1993 CBS/NYT 23 17 30 20 20
10/23/1992 CBS/NYT 14 20 15 30 32
10/15/1992 NES 24 26 33 37 31
6/08/1992 GALLUP 13 13 19 31 30
10/20/1991 ABC/POST 29 25 33 42 39
3/06/1991 CBS/NYT 38 46 39 57 56
3/01/1991 ABC/POST 29 39 41 54 50
12/01/1990 NES 27 27 26 31 33
9/06/1990 ABC/POST 37 34 39 49 45
1/16/1990 ABC/POST 32 28 34 50 39
6/29/1989 CBS/NYT 34 27 27 38 55
1/15/1989 CBS/NYT 40 33 38 56 54
11/10/1988 CBS/NYT 41 24 40 65 52
10/15/1988 NES 39 34 35 52 51
1/23/1988 ABC/POST 26 30 31 54 49
10/18/1987 CBS/NYT 34 34 37 47 49
6/01/1987 ABC/POST 46 34 41 60 55
1/21/1987 CBS/NYT 45 34 37 54 48
1/19/1987 ABC/POST 40 37 38 52 51
12/01/1986 NES 36 25 36 53 53
9/09/1986 ABC/POST 32 25 34 55 44
1/19/1986 CBS/NYT 37 34 38 51 52
11/06/1985 CBS/NYT 39 42 43 60 56
7/29/1985 ABC/POST 33 26 33 53 41
3/21/1985 ABC/POST 31 27 29 52 48
2/22/1985 ABC/POST 21 28 33 62 63
10/15/1984 NES 42 34 47 52 46
12/01/1982 NES 28 29 35 48 38
11/07/1980 CBS/NYT 37 38 42 44 41
10/15/1980 NES 20 34 28 28 18
3/12/1980 CBS/NYT 21 31 29 25 18
11/03/1979 CBS/NYT 28 34 31 28 26
12/01/1978 NES 27 38 33 24 24
10/23/1977 CBS/NYT 30 41 41 32 16
4/25/1977 CBS/NYT 32 41 38 33 36
10/15/1976 NES 32 27 34 49 41
9/05/1976 CBS/NYT 36 33 42 45 45
6/15/1976 CBS/NYT 29 35 35 39 34
12/01/1974 NES 37 36 40 39 40
10/15/1972 NES 53 44 53 62 66

Pew Research Center

Historically, there have been modest differences between generational groups in trust in government. The trend in these views over time follows a similar pattern across generations. Millennials (now ages 18-34) hold slightly more trust in the federal government today than older generations. The same was true of Gen Xers in the early 1990s (when many Xers were in their twenties) relative to Boomers and Silents, but these generational differences diminished over time. The Boomer and Silent generations also had slightly different attitudes on government trust in the 1970s and 1980s, but for both Boomers and Silents there was a steep drop in trust during the 1970s.

Trust in government by generation

Date . Greatest Silent Boomer Gen X Millennial
10/04/2015 PEW 16 14 19 25
7/20/2014 CNN 12 13 14 20
2/26/2014 PEW 16 16 18 22
11/15/2013 CBS/NYT 15 14 15 23
10/13/2013 PEW 16 16 16 25
5/31/2013 CBS/NYT 18 17 17 25
2/06/2013 CBS/NYT 20 18 20 27
1/13/2013 PEW 21 21 21 28
10/31/2012 NES 15 15 16 24
10/19/2011 CBS/NYT 11 12 16 24
10/04/2011 PEW 10 11 14 23
9/23/2011 CNN 11 11 17 23
8/21/2011 PEW 16 18 20 28
3/01/2011 PEW 18 21 21 27
10/21/2010 CBS/NYT 14 15 21 23
10/01/2010 CBS/NYT 18 19 24 27
9/06/2010 PEW 21 20 25 29
9/01/2010 CNN 17 18 23 27
4/05/2010 CBS/NYT 21 21 25 30
4/05/2010 CBS/NYT 18 18 24 30
3/21/2010 PEW 17 17 25 23
2/12/2010 CNN 20 19 26 22
2/05/2010 CBS/NYT 21 19 23 24
1/10/2010 GALLUP 19 16 21 24
12/20/2009 CNN 18 16 20 34
8/31/2009 CBS/NYT 17 19 21 30
6/12/2009 CBS/NYT 18 22 21 32
12/21/2008 CNN 22 26 24 29
10/15/2008 NES 22 23 21 33
10/13/2008 CBS/NYT 19 20 23 35
7/09/2007 CBS/NYT 18 18 25 35
1/09/2007 PEW 24 25 30 35
10/08/2006 CBS/NYT 21 23 30 36
9/15/2006 CBS/NYT 26 26 32 40
2/05/2006 PEW 27 29 34 37
1/20/2006 CBS/NYT 27 28 32 44
1/06/2006 GALLUP 29 29 34 44
12/02/2005 CBS/NYT 29 27 35 40
9/11/2005 PEW 30 26 35 33
9/09/2005 CBS/NYT 30 26 36 35
6/19/2005 GALLUP 36 32 38 37
10/15/2004 NES 38 37 39 42
3/21/2004 PEW 39 41 38 44
10/26/2003 GALLUP 37 40 39 51
7/27/2003 CBS/NYT 41 42 43 56
10/15/2002 NES 41 46 47 56
9/04/2002 GALLUP 43 46 49 54
9/02/2002 CBS/NYT 34 39 46 53
7/13/2002 CBS/NYT 36 38 44 52
6/17/2002 GALLUP 38 41 47 54
1/24/2002 CBS/NYT 42 46 50 51
12/07/2001 CBS/NYT 45 50 53 57
10/25/2001 CBS/NYT 49 55 57 62
10/06/2001 GALLUP 45 50 51 56
1/17/2001 CBS/NYT 45 44 47 48
10/15/2000 NES 41 37 41
7/09/2000 GALLUP 40 35 40
4/02/2000 ABC/POST 31 33 37
2/14/2000 PEW 31 33 35
10/03/1999 CBS/NYT 30 32 36
9/14/1999 CBS/NYT 30 34 37
5/16/1999 PEW 31 33 37
2/21/1999 PEW 27 32 35
2/12/1999 ABC/POST 33 34 36
2/04/1999 GALLUP 32 33 37
1/10/1999 CBS/NYT 33 33 37
1/03/1999 CBS/NYT 34 35 43
12/01/1998 NES 29 33 37
11/19/1998 PEW 22 27 27
11/01/1998 CBS/NYT 26 31 34
10/26/1998 CBS/NYT 24 30 30
8/10/1998 ABC/POST 28 30 37
2/22/1998 PEW 33 31 40
2/01/1998 GALLUP 31 30 37
1/25/1998 CBS/NYT 33 28 37
10/31/1997 PEW 33 33 31 34
6/01/1997 GALLUP 27 28 25 30
1/14/1997 CBS/NYT 30 26 25 30
11/02/1996 CBS/NYT 32 27 25 29
10/15/1996 NES 35 26 26 31
5/12/1996 GALLUP 38 29 28 36
5/06/1996 ABC/POST 35 24 26 34
11/19/1995 ABC/POST 29 25 26 30
8/07/1995 GALLUP 22 20 23 25
8/05/1995 CBS/NYT 20 20 21 24
3/19/1995 ABC/POST 21 18 19 24
2/22/1995 CBS/NYT 23 19 20 24
12/01/1994 NES 24 19 19 23
10/29/1994 CBS/NYT 27 20 20 23
10/23/1994 ABC/POST 22 18 18 23
6/06/1994 GALLUP 21 18 17 23
1/30/1994 GALLUP 22 19 18 25
1/20/1994 ABC/POST 27 21 19 25
3/24/1993 GALLUP 29 24 22 28
1/17/1993 ABC/POST 28 25 21 29
1/14/1993 CBS/NYT 26 24 22 30
10/23/1992 CBS/NYT 27 24 24 29
10/15/1992 NES 24 20 26 30
6/08/1992 GALLUP 28 24 30 34
10/20/1991 ABC/POST 31 28 37 43
3/06/1991 CBS/NYT 36 38 44 53
3/01/1991 ABC/POST 35 37 41 51
12/01/1990 NES 29 30 32 43
10/28/1990 CBS/NYT 29 30 31 41
9/06/1990 ABC/POST 32 33 35 45
1/16/1990 ABC/POST 35 37 39 46
6/29/1989 CBS/NYT 36 36 41 46
1/15/1989 CBS/NYT 37 39 44 46
11/10/1988 CBS/NYT 41 41 45 47
10/15/1988 NES 38 39 43 50
1/23/1988 ABC/POST 36 39 43 50
10/18/1987 CBS/NYT 37 40 46 55
6/01/1987 ABC/POST 38 41 47 52
3/01/1987 CBS/NYT 42 41 47 54
1/21/1987 CBS/NYT 41 39 45 55
1/19/1987 ABC/POST 42 40 43 49
12/01/1986 NES 45 43 43 51
11/30/1986 CBS/NYT 42 41 43 47
9/09/1986 ABC/POST 41 42 45 54
1/19/1986 CBS/NYT 42 42 46 58
11/06/1985 CBS/NYT 42 41 45 57
7/29/1985 ABC/POST 42 38 43 53
3/21/1985 ABC/POST 38 35 42 52
2/22/1985 ABC/POST 38 36 42 56
10/15/1984 NES 39 37 41 54
12/01/1982 NES 40 38 40
11/07/1980 CBS/NYT 34 32 33
10/15/1980 NES 32 29 31
3/12/1980 CBS/NYT 28 23 28
12/01/1978 NES 28 30 31
10/15/1976 NES 33 33 36
3/01/1976 GALLUP 32 31 37
12/01/1974 NES 33 37 44
10/15/1972 NES 51 57 57
12/01/1970 NES 51 59 59
10/15/1968 NES 56 72 73
12/01/1966 NES 64 74
10/15/1964 NES 76 82
12/01/1958 NES 75 79

Pew Research Center

A downward trajectory in trust in government also is seen across racial and ethnic lines. Currently, white non-Hispanics, black non-Hispanics and Hispanics all express historically low levels of trust in government. During the Republican presidencies of Reagan and G.W. Bush more white non-Hispanics than black non-Hispanics said they trusted the government to do the right thing. Conversely, during the Democratic administrations of Clinton and Obama more black non-Hispanics express trust in government than white non-Hispanics.

Trust in government by race and ethnicity

Date . Hispanic Black White
10/04/2015 PEW 28 23 15
7/20/2014 CNN 9
2/26/2014 PEW 33 26 22
11/15/2013 CBS/NYT 12
10/13/2013 PEW 21 24 17
5/31/2013 CBS/NYT 15
2/06/2013 CBS/NYT 39 15
1/13/2013 PEW 44 38 20
10/31/2012 NES 38 38 16
10/19/2011 CBS/NYT 15 15 8
10/04/2011 PEW 29 25 17
9/23/2011 CNN 10
8/21/2011 PEW 28 35 15
3/01/2011 PEW 28 25 30
10/21/2010 CBS/NYT 40 15
10/01/2010 CBS/NYT 17
9/06/2010 PEW 37 37 20
9/01/2010 CNN 21
4/05/2010 CBS/NYT 18
3/21/2010 PEW 26 37 20
2/12/2010 CNN 22
2/05/2010 CBS/NYT 16
1/10/2010 GALLUP 16
12/20/2009 CNN 21 18
8/31/2009 CBS/NYT 21
6/12/2009 CBS/NYT 16
12/21/2008 CNN 22
10/15/2008 NES 34 28 30
10/13/2008 CBS/NYT 18
7/09/2007 CBS/NYT 11 25
1/09/2007 PEW 35 20 32
10/08/2006 CBS/NYT 31
9/15/2006 CBS/NYT 31
2/05/2006 PEW 26 36
1/20/2006 CBS/NYT 19 34
1/06/2006 GALLUP 33
12/02/2005 CBS/NYT 35
9/11/2005 PEW 12 32
9/09/2005 CBS/NYT 12 29
6/19/2005 GALLUP 32
10/15/2004 NES 34 50
3/21/2004 PEW 17 41
10/26/2003 GALLUP 39
7/27/2003 CBS/NYT 19 37
10/15/2002 NES 41 58
9/04/2002 GALLUP 46
9/02/2002 CBS/NYT 39
7/13/2002 CBS/NYT 39
6/17/2002 GALLUP 48
1/24/2002 CBS/NYT 48
12/07/2001 CBS/NYT 51
10/25/2001 CBS/NYT 60
10/06/2001 GALLUP 61
1/17/2001 CBS/NYT 33
10/15/2000 NES 32 46
7/09/2000 GALLUP 41
4/02/2000 ABC/POST 28
2/14/2000 PEW 36 40
10/03/1999 CBS/NYT 28
9/14/1999 CBS/NYT 30 39
5/16/1999 PEW 28 31
2/21/1999 PEW 32 31
2/12/1999 ABC/POST 32
2/04/1999 GALLUP 33
1/10/1999 CBS/NYT 37 35
1/03/1999 CBS/NYT 39 31
12/01/1998 NES 57 36 38
11/19/1998 PEW 27 26
11/01/1998 CBS/NYT 29 22
10/26/1998 CBS/NYT 26 25
8/10/1998 ABC/POST 33
2/22/1998 PEW 42 33
2/01/1998 GALLUP 36
1/25/1998 CBS/NYT 25
10/31/1997 PEW 39 38
6/01/1997 GALLUP 31 32
1/14/1997 CBS/NYT 15 24
11/02/1996 CBS/NYT 31 30 24
10/15/1996 NES 35 32
5/12/1996 GALLUP 24
5/06/1996 ABC/POST 34
11/19/1995 ABC/POST 26
8/07/1995 GALLUP 22
8/05/1995 CBS/NYT 24 19
3/19/1995 ABC/POST 27 21
2/22/1995 CBS/NYT 20 17
12/01/1994 NES 22 20
10/29/1994 CBS/NYT 16 22
10/23/1994 ABC/POST 21
6/06/1994 GALLUP 15
1/30/1994 GALLUP 17
1/20/1994 ABC/POST 34 21
3/24/1993 GALLUP 20
1/17/1993 ABC/POST 45 25
1/14/1993 CBS/NYT 22 24
10/23/1992 CBS/NYT 21 23
10/15/1992 NES 37 27 28
6/08/1992 GALLUP 23
10/20/1991 ABC/POST 29 36
3/06/1991 CBS/NYT 30 49
3/01/1991 ABC/POST 35 46
12/01/1990 NES 39 22 27
10/28/1990 CBS/NYT 26 25
9/06/1990 ABC/POST 39 43
1/16/1990 ABC/POST 35 38
6/29/1989 CBS/NYT 26 36
1/15/1989 CBS/NYT 33 46
11/10/1988 CBS/NYT 33 45
10/15/1988 NES 25 43
1/23/1988 ABC/POST 29 41
10/18/1987 CBS/NYT 32 41
6/01/1987 ABC/POST 34 49
3/01/1987 CBS/NYT 20 45
1/21/1987 CBS/NYT 27 46
1/19/1987 ABC/POST 31 47
12/01/1986 NES 21 42
11/30/1986 CBS/NYT 23 52
9/09/1986 ABC/POST 26 42
1/19/1986 CBS/NYT 22 45
11/06/1985 CBS/NYT 34 52
7/29/1985 ABC/POST 22 40
3/21/1985 ABC/POST 29 40
2/22/1985 ABC/POST 24 46
10/15/1984 NES 33 46
12/01/1982 NES 26 34
11/07/1980 CBS/NYT 30 40
10/15/1980 NES 26 25
3/12/1980 CBS/NYT 35 24
11/03/1979 CBS/NYT 36 29
12/01/1978 NES 29 29
10/23/1977 CBS/NYT 28 34
4/25/1977 CBS/NYT 34 35
10/15/1976 NES 22 35
6/15/1976 CBS/NYT 35 34
3/01/1976 GALLUP 23 34
12/01/1974 NES 19 38
10/15/1972 NES 32 56
12/01/1970 NES 40 55
10/15/1968 NES 62 61
12/01/1966 NES 65 65
10/15/1964 NES 77 77
12/01/1958 NES 62 74

Pew Research Center

Sources: Pew Research Center, National Election Studies, Gallup, ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, and CNN Polls. For party, generation and race/ethnicity analysis, selected datasets obtained from searches of the iPOLL Databank provided by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.