A new survey from Gallup finds residents of Illinois have the least trust in their state government, with just 28% of residents having even a fair amount of trust in the Illinois government to “handle” the state’s problems.
Illinois, in fact, is almost in a league of its own on the question. In the next two states with the least amount of trust in government, Rhode Island and Maine, 40% of residents reported they had at least a “fair amount” of trust in their state government.
This result is perhaps unsurprising, considering that the last two governors in the state have gone to jail. Illinois also has the worst bond rating of any state in the country and faces annual struggles to balance its budget. Three years ago, the state passed a very large, temporary income tax hike. This year, Governor Democrat Pat Quinn is campaigning to make the tax permanent.
The distrust of state government in Illinois runs very deep. More than one-third of residents, 35%, report they have “no trust” in the ability of the government to manage its affairs. This rate is almost double the rate reported by residents of Rhode Island, the runner-up for the dubious title.
The 50-state average of the number of residents who have a “great deal” or “fair” amount of trust in their state governments is 58%. Population seems to be a factor in whether residents “trust” their government:
In general, trust is lower in more populous states than in less populous states. The 10 most populous states and 10 least populous states differ by 11 percentage points in state government trust, with the middle population states in between. Larger states have larger economies and more citizens needing services, and often more diverse populations, so they may be more challenging to govern than smaller states.
This isn’t a hard rule, though. In Texas, the second most popular state, 72% of residents trust their state government. In California, just 49% of residents trust their state government.