Home > News > World >

Trust getting scarcer in a divided US
update:July 20,2022
Demonstrators march over the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, the United States, on May 14, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]
Polls show steady trend of declining faith in government and top court
To Tim Swartz, a Houston engineer in his early 50s, many politicians are running the country poorly, and most government institutions are a disappointment.
"Nothing has changed for a very long time. The infrastructure is poorly maintained. The institutions haven't changed. Frankly, the real problem is the people in the offices. They are simply too old, and they are doing the same thing forever," Swartz told China Daily.
"Unfortunately, it's human nature to cling to power, and I don't see a way out," he said.
He is not alone in his low opinion of the US government and the desire for structural change. A recent poll by The New York Times and Siena College found that 58 percent of those polled said the US government needs major reforms or a complete overhaul.
The attack on the US Capitol in Washington on Jan 6 last year was viewed by 55 percent of the poll's respondents as an event that threatened US democracy. However, there is a sharp divergence of opinion along party lines. Ninety-two percent of Democrat supporters say Donald Trump went too far, while 76 percent of Republicans say the Republican president was just exercising his right to contest the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The poll is in line with the findings of a Pew Research Center poll conducted in May. That poll shows that only 20 percent of the respondents say they trust the government in Washington to do what is right, a drop from the 24 percent recorded last year. Some 29 percent of the Democrats polled trusted the government while only 9 percent of Republicans did so. A similar gap along party lines existed when Trump was in office.
The Pew historical data shows that trust in government has been in a steady decline since George W. Bush was in office. After the Sept 11 terror attacks, the public rallied around the government, with 49 percent of people trusting it. By the time Bush left office in 2009, the percentage had dropped to 24 percent and has since never topped 30 percent.
The Supreme Court has also suffered a dramatic drop in public trust after the court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
A Gallup poll conducted from June 1-20 shows that only 25 percent of those polled have confidence in the nation's highest court, an 11-point drop from 36 percent a year ago and a record low since the poll began in the 1970s. As a result, 57 percent of respondents disapprove of the court's decision on June 24 that ended federal abortion protection for women.
Abortion row
That attitude is reflected in a Pew Research Center poll in March showing that 61 percent of people say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, reflecting support levels that remain largely unchanged since 1995.
Younger people are even more disappointed in the government. The New York Times/Siena poll, conducted from July 5-7, shows that among Democrat supporters, 64 percent want someone other than President Joe Biden to run in 2024.
The Times said Biden's approval rating stands at 70 percent among fellow Democrats. The poll also found that 92 percent of Democrats would stick with Biden in a hypothetical rematch between him and Trump.
A New York technology worker, who gave her name as Olivia, was out of college less than a year and working for a data company when the pandemic hit. She said she is dismayed at how ineffectively the government responded to the crisis.
"We are now facing high inflation and frequent mass shootings. The government seems unable to address these problems," she told China Daily. "Then there was the Jan 6 riot. It seems there is no consequence at the high level and the politicians have no spine to do anything about it. Instead, we are arguing about Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court is more conservative. To me, they seem to spite the majority by bringing up an old issue that's already settled."

By MAY ZHOU in Houston
  • Milky Way shines in evening twilight over Yamdrok Lake
  • Tibetan herders in NW China expect thriving summer tourism season
  • How livelihoods have improved in Tibetan villages

E-mail:editor@tibetol.cn |About Us|Contact Us |Site Maps|
Address:3/F, C Tower, RECREO International Centre, 8 Wangjing East Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100102, PRC
Copyright by China Intercontinental Communication Co., Ltd All Rights Reserved.