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Trust in Government Drops By Nearly Half In Minnesota Since 2004

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As Minnesotans prepare once again to be at the heart of another competitive presidential election, the Gopher States’ view of government has eroded precipitously during the last four years.

According to the latest Humphrey Institute / Minnesota Public Radio survey, only 28 percent of likely voters believe our government can be trusted to do what’s right ‘just about always’ or ‘most of the time.’ Nearly four years ago, in October 2004, a Humphrey Institute poll revealed that half of likely voters in Minnesota trusted the government – a decline of 44 percent.

Today, four times as many Minnesotans believe the government can ‘never’ be trusted (8 percent, double the number from 2004) as those who believe it can be trusted ‘just about always’ (only 2 percent).

Overall, 71 percent of Gopher State residents believe government can be trusted just ‘some of the time’ or ‘never’ – a steep increase from 48 percent in 2004.

This erosion of trust in government is alarming, but should not come as a surprise to those following other trends in public opinion. The latest HHH/MPR poll also shows President Bush, our head of government, holding just a 32 percent job approval rating in Minnesota – down from 51 percent from the October 2004 Humphrey Institute poll.

Moreover, the HHH/MPR poll reveals only 18 percent of likely Minnesota voters believe the country is headed in the right direction; in 2004, more than double that number (42 percent) were optimistic about the direction of the country (Rasmussen, October, 2004).

Despite Minnesotans being overwhelmingly disappointed with our government, our (Republican) president, and the direction of our country, Democrat Barack Obama is still locked in a tight race with John McCain in the Gopher State (as well as nationwide). A great pool of hungry voters thus awaits whichever presidential candidate can inspire optimism about how government will act under his leadership.

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Next post: 3rd CD: DFL Experiences Historical Bump in Presidential Election Years

3 Comments


  • Eric what a boob! The Democrat led Congress and the Democrat led Minnesota legislature both have a worse rating than The Prez. And you point to Bush as the reason that people don't trust Govt. HAHAHA! People don't trust Govt. because it is a monster out of control and needs to be put back in its cage. What a fool you are. You know what a fool is don't you? It means you lack judgment. Oh! The definition of a Democrat.

  • > The Democrat led Congress and the Democrat led Minnesota
    > legislature both have a worse rating than The Prez.

    While you are correct that I did specifically cite President Bush as a partial explanation, I certainly did not immunize Democrats from criticism in my comments. It is true, as you say, that Congress' rating is quite low - though Congress' rating is almost always lower than that of the President (Bush or otherwise). And it was quite low while under GOP control a few years ago.

    Secondly, on the state level, the HHH/MPR survey also found if elections for the Minnesota State Legislature were being held today 49 percent would vote Democratic and 36 percent would vote Republican. As such, while folks may not be particularly happy with the government (state or federal), there are no signs that the state is going to throw Democrats out of office as punishment (nor at the national level) - voters are even more wary of Republicans.

    As for the legislature's actual approval rating - it is about the same as President Bush's rating - 29 percent by the latest measure (SurveyUSA, March 2008). However, the gap was a bit bigger on the disapproval side: Bush at 66 percent, MN state legislature at 58 percent.


  • Eric what a boob! ...

    Wow. My Flavor Flav comment looks downright cerebral.

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