Analysis of public trust in government agencies

By David Guirgis and lew virgin

Public confidence in government as a whole remained at historic levels low, with the caveat that confidence in the government is rising slightly among members of the party that currently controls the presidency. But within the federal government, some institutions are much more popular with voters than others. New data for progress vote explores public perception of various agencies, including across demographic and ideological lines, with the aim of exploring what drives the perception that an institution is “elite” and how this affects trust of the public in the agency in question.

Overall, voters have the most confidence in the US Armed Forces and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to make the nation’s best interests their top priority. It is not surprising that the armed forces are the most popular. More than two-thirds of all voters believe “a lot” or “somewhat” that they have the best interests of the nation as their top priority. Demographically, they are the most representative entity of the population. Furthermore, their ability to contribute to the costs of education and health care – combined with voter support for authority and the sense of security associated with the military – is valued by voters. NASA is also relatively popular with voters, with 47% confidence among voters that the interests of the nation are a top priority. Conversely, the US House of Representatives and Senate are not seen to have the best interests of the nation as their top priority. Seventy-one percent and 72 percent of voters surveyed, respectively, do not trust the House and the Senate.

Ashley C. Reynolds