Whether You Trust Our Government - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Whether You Trust Our Government

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)- The results of the latest state of the state survey are out and they show Michigan's citizens trust in their state and federal governments are on the decline.

The numbers show us that a pretty significant portion of Michigan's population says they can trust their local governmental officials, city council members, clerks, etc.

Although when it comes to government at the state and federal level, there's been a downward trend in the public's trust of their elected officials, and this latest survey showed those numbers continue to drop.

When asked the question, "can you trust your government nearly always or most of the time,"  39% responded yes for their local officials, 19% answered yes about their state officials, and just 15% said yes they can always or most of the time trust their federal government.

Michigan State University Professor Charles Ballard, who conducts the survey says these numbers don't surprise him. "Trust in the state government has really fallen over the years. It's sort of stabilized in the past couple years but it's much much lower than it was 10 or 15 years ago. Trust in the federal government spiked way high right after 9-11 but then it's fallen very significantly since then," said Professor Ballard.

He also says that these surveys were done before the IRS scandal and or the NSA leak, so he says public trust in the federal government may dip even lower in the next survey.

In addition to the university's project, U of M conducted a similar study asking the same questions, but in their version surveyors only approached local government officials to guage their trust in different levels of government.

When asked if they almost always or most of the time trust their federal government, only 6%of local government leaders said yes, 19% answered yes to trusting the state government and 67% of local officials said yes they trust their colleagues other local officials to do the right thing for their constituents.

U of M Professor Tom Ivacko says those numbers are no coincidence. "A lot of it's tied to how the economy is doing. When the economy goes down so does trust in the government. There also are generally very strong partisan differences. Republican citizens tend to trust republican led governments-democratic citizens tend to trust democratic led governments. And we found some of the same things among local leaders as well," said Professor Ivacko.

U of M surveyed local officials from 1300 municipalities cross Michigan to get those numbers.


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