Fox News Poll: Trust in Federal Government Hits New Low

As leaders in Washington try to reach agreement on a budget deal, a record majority of American voters say they distrust the federal government.

Only 33 percent of voters say yes, they generally trust the government, a record low according to a Fox News poll released Wednesday. The previous low was last year’s 35 percent (June 2010). The level of trust has dropped a total of 21 percentage points from a post-9/11 high of 54 percent trust in June 2002.

A majority of voters -- 62 percent -- do not trust the government. That’s up from 60 percent last year, and up significantly from 36 percent in 2002.

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This sentiment of distrust is widely felt, as the poll found younger voters, older voters, as well as high and low income voters alike -- all about equally likely to express distrust in Uncle Sam.

In addition, nearly half of Democrats (48 percent), as well as majorities of independents (68 percent) and Republicans (76 percent) do not trust the government.

Role of Government

Even as distrust in government increases, fewer voters now think the federal government is trying to do too much than thought so in the recent past. Now 43 percent of voters think the federal government is trying to do too much, down from 57 percent in February 2010.

The number of voters who feel the government is doing too little is nearly twice what it was: 30 percent think the government is doing too little today, up from 17 percent (February 2010).

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 904 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw Company Research (R) from July 17 to July 19. For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.