PublicationsApril 12, 2000

Performance and Purpose; Constituents Rate Government Agencies

Introduction and Summary Americans have long been ambivalent, if not downright conflicted, in their attitudes toward the federal government. They rail against the government’s inefficiency, but clamor for government programs that benefit them. Since the era of Vietnam and Watergate, a majority of Americans have said they can seldom trust the government to do the […]

PublicationsApril 20, 1998

Pew Values Update: American Social Beliefs 1997 – 1987

Introduction and Summary Americans continue to express a strong sense of individualism. They believe their destiny is in their own hands and that hard work will be rewarded. But they also believe that society should level the playing field so that everyone has an equal chance to get ahead. The public credits business for much […]

PublicationsApril 17, 1998

Washington Leaders Wary of Public Opinion

Introduction and Summary Washington’s leaders and the American public are out of step with one another. Public distrust of government is paralleled by a belief among members of Congress, presidential appointees and senior civil servants that the American public is too ill-informed to make wise decisions about important issues. Washington leaders also significantly underestimate the […]

PublicationsMarch 10, 1998

How Americans View Government

Introduction and Summary Americans continue to distrust the government, although there are signs that hostility toward government has begun to diminish. There is also considerable evidence that distrust of government is strongly connected to how people feel about the overall state of the nation. Today, personal satisfaction is soaring, the economy is thriving and confidence […]

PublicationsApril 18, 1997

Trust and Citizen Engagement in Metropolitan Philadelphia: A Case Study

Introduction and Summary FOREWORD Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in the 1830s that “nothing … deserves more attention” in the fledgling United States than the immense variety and number of civic associations to which Americans belonged. Engagement in these associations appeared to reflect a unique degree of social trust and to promote a connectedness among citizens […]

PublicationsJanuary 16, 1997

A Partisan Public Agenda

Introduction and Summary As Inauguration Day approaches, Bill Clinton is getting his highest ever approval rating (59%). Favorable opinion of Congress is also up sharply (56%) as the GOP begins its second consecutive term of control for the first time in more than sixty years. Newt Gingrich is the only unpopular national leader in the […]

PublicationsOctober 11, 1990

The People, The Press & Politics 1990

Seen through the Times Mirror Center for the People & the Press’ political typology of 1990, the American electorate presents a disquieting picture of political gridlock. Despite the personal popularity of President Bush, cynicism toward the political system in general is growing as the public in unprecedented numbers associates Republicans with wealth and greed, […]