Trust in Government

What Do New Yorkers and Utahns Have in Common? Distrust of the Feds.

Mutual disdain for Washington, D.C. can bring us all together


New York leans Democrat and Utah tilts Republican. New Yorkers are generally politically liberal, while Utahns favor conservative policies. On election maps, one is tinted red and the other blue. But two recent polls demonstrate that on at least one issue, the average residents of both states have a lot in common: Neither one places much trust in the federal government.

In a poll published today and conducted last month by Dan Jones & Associates, finds that Utahns, on average, place the most trust in local government, followed by state government, with county government trailing and the federal government barely qualifying as an also-ran. / Dan Jones & Associates

Partisan preferences make a big difference here, with only 1 percent of Republicans and 3 percent of Independents placing their trust in the city on the distant Potomac River. By contrast, 27 percent of relatively rare state Democrats trust the feds, reserving their disdain for county government (2 percent) and state government (7 percent).

New Yorkers also find more to trust about local government than about federal institutions. Last month Siena College, located just outside Albany, teamed up with several local government groups thaty wanted to know if their constituents were into them. Mostly, they were.

While only 28 percent of voters across New York trust either the federal or state government to do what is right at least most of the time, 43 percent trust their local government most or all of the time.  Similarly, only 27 percent give the federal government a positive job performance of either good or excellent, and 30 percent give the state a positive job performance rating while 42 percent say their local government is doing either a good or excellent job…

Federal and state government didn't fare so well, though.

Siena College

Once again, partisan differences played a role, though not as starkly as in Utah. Democrats (44 percent), Republicans (44 percent), and Independents/Others (40 percent) all place more faith in local government than in the feds.

Distrust of the federal government is obviously stronger in Utah than in New York, and among Republicans than among Democrats. But the average traveling Utahn running into a random New Yorker could safely count on a friendly and fruitful conversation about Washington, D.C.'s failings.

This month, Americans overall named government as the most important problem facing the country today for the fourth month running. It held that status for the year of 2014, too.

In these polarizing days, it's heartwarming to know that distrust of Leviathan is something that can bring us together.

NEXT: UPDATED WITH STATEMENT FROM PAUL'S OFFICE! Rand Paul Goes Hawkish, Proposes Massive Defense Increases, Becomes Less Interesting

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  1. There’s an answer missing from that survey.

  2. I notice there was no “I am rational and do not trust any of them” option.

  3. In these polarizing days, it’s heartwarming to know that distrust of Leviathan is something that can bring us together.

    I’m not sure you can read it that way. I’m guessing a lot of Democrats distrust the federal government because of things like the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., despite the fact that their preferred outcome would have strengthened Leviathan.


      They VOTE for more of it EVERY FUCKING CHANCE they get!!!

      Imma call bullshit on that one…

  4. Beat me.

  5. In these polarizing days, it’s heartwarming to know that distrust of Leviathan is something that can bring us together.

    Hardly. This was kind of a push pull, since it asks WHICH level of government does the person TRUST most — assuming that some levels of government are trustworthy — rather than asking people to rank each level of government on a scale from “I totally always trust and loooove these people” to “fire all those bastards, burn their building to the ground, and sow salt on the ashes”.

    1. Whoops. Take that back. The description of the poll in the article is wrong. The sample survey question in the sidebar allows a “never” trust answer.

      1. You expect us to read the whole article before commenting or something?

  6. Trust to do what most?

    Fuck up?

    Rob me blind?

    Inflict bodily harm?

  7. What Do New Yorkers and Utahns Have in Common? Distrust of the Feds.

    What else do they have in common? They won’t do a fucking thing at the polls to change things.

  8. Now how could this be resolved?


    What about a federal government with limited and specifically enumerated power?

    1. Oh, c’mon. That’s just crazy talk.

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