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Poll: Americans Don’t Like Their Government

by Bruce Haring

A new Gallup survey out today shows that confidence in our government has reached historic lows. The most recent numbers say 7% have confidence in Congress, while 29% feel confident in President Obama’s handling of things.

Lack of confidence in the government is nothing new, at least over the past few decades. The “government confidence” survey has been running for 23 years, although Gallup has been researching the area for some time.

For an idea of how far things have eroded, in 1991 72% of Americans trusted the President, with 30% approving of Congress, according to Gallup. Congress has traditionally been the low man on the totem, with the President and the Supreme Court bouncing back and forth for “most trusted” status.

“But on a relative basis, Americans’ confidence in all three is eroding,” a Gallup analysis reported. Over the past year, confidence has fallen four points for the Supreme Court, seven for the presidency and three for the White House. Gallup notes that Americans still have faith in the military and the police.

So why the low-ball confidence? It’s not hard to figure out. Let’s break it down.

Immigration: The government seems bent on doing the exact opposite of what the electorate wants. Two in five Americans want less immigration. But the Schumer-Rubio bill, which doubled immigration quotas, shows the tone deafness of Congress. Sure, people want immigration reform — they want less immigration, particularly of the illegal kind.

Foreign Policy: An easy one to figure out. Any time Americans are coming home in body bags, it’s never a good thing. Particularly when the agenda is very murky as to why exactly we’re doing something — and it appears that we’re losing, like we currently are in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries where we’re drawing down and the people we allegedly beat ramp up for new offensives.

Employment: Bitterness over the ongoing destruction of the Middle Class, combined with calls for more immigration, have made it seem like government is working hard to eliminate a sector of the economy — the Middle Class worker. Since there are more in the middle and lower ends of the electorate than at the top, it’s not hard to see how that will negatively effect perception polls.

Media: We now have an overwhelmingly partisan debate running 24/7. It’s easier than ever to take sides, and it’s us versus them, the “them” being government, no matter which party you claim. That goes double for Michelle Obama, who always seems to be hectoring about something we should be doing, but she avoids.

Boldness: The US seems to react to world events rather than lead them. But a vision, like landing a man on the moon, getting shovels in the ground for infrastructure projects, and equally enforcing the law, seem to be trouble areas for government, which is focused more on the ant crawling from the fire than the actual fire. People do observe and report.

The Future: The only thing that seems to be pushed with vigor is platitudes about American greatness, which are trotted out regularly around election time. Obviously the people don’t like the directions that are being touted, and will be venting their outrage more and more at the polling place. And we don’t mean Gallup.

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