Trust and Distrust in America

Many Americans see declining levels of trust in the country, whether it is their confidence in the federal government and elected officials or their trust of each other, a new Pew Research Center report finds. And most believe that the interplay between the trust issues in the public and the interpersonal sphere has made it harder to solve some of the country’s problems. 

Majorities believe the federal government and news media withhold important and useful information. People’s confidence in key institutions is associated with their views about the transparency of institutions. About two-thirds (69%) of Americans say the federal government intentionally withholds important information from the public that it could safely release, and 61% say the news media intentionally ignores stories that are important to the public. Those who hold those skeptical views are more likely than others to have greater concerns about the state of trust. Some 44% of Americans say “yes” to both questions – that the federal government withholds information and the news media ignores stories. More Republicans and Republican-leaning independents than Democrats and Democratic leaners believe both institutions hold back information (54% vs. 38%).

Trust and Distrust in America Key findings about Americans’ declining trust in government and each other