Poll: Majority of Americans Believe Ordinary People Do Better Job Than Elected Officials

A new Pew Research Center poll found 55 percent of Americans believe ordinary people could do a better job of “solving national problems” than elected officials, and only 19 percent of Americans trust the federal government “always or most of the time.”

Just 15 years ago, a clear majority of Americans — 60 percent — trusted the government. “Since then trust has been steadily eroding in the face of the Iraq War and the economic uncertainty,” reported Voice of America.

The survey results show that elected officials are viewed as dishonest and selfish in comparison to “typical Americans,” with 74 percent of those surveyed saying they believe elected officials act for their own personal interests rather than for the country’s best interest.

More than 75 percent of Americans believe money “has a greater influence on politics and elected officials today than in the past.” Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said money “discourages many good candidates from running” for President of the United States.

Only 31 percent of Democrats suggested they wanted a smaller government, but 80 percent of “Republicans and Republican-leaning independents” want a smaller government with less governmental programs and services.

Fighting terrorism, natural disasters, infrastructure and medical safety were some of the issues that both Republicans and Democrats said the federal government should “play a major role.”

There is also bipartisan agreement that the government should be involved in immigration, with 85 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of Democrats saying the federal government must have a “major role” regarding immigration.

“Large differences between Republicans and Democrats were seen in issues dealing with the social safety net,” noted Voice of America. “Roughly one third of Republicans said the government should help people escape poverty and provide access to health care. For Democrats, the numbers were 72 percent and 83 percent respectively.”

The Pew survey results were derived from 6,000 interviews between August 27th and October 15th.


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