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Poll: Americans Trust in State and Local Government Remains High

Americans continue to trust their local government over state government, although trust in both levels of government remains high, according to a new poll from Gallup.

Gallup found that those surveyed trust their local government 72 percent versus their state government 62 percent, a result that remained unchanged from the same poll taken last year, and continues to reflect more than a decade long trend.

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Gallup’s Governance poll surveyed 1,017 random adults over the age of 18 living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia via telephone September 4-7.

While trust in local government has remained steady since Gallup first polled confidence state and local government, confidence in state government has fluctuated and decreased in tandem with economic downturns.

Trust in state and local government varies significantly between Democrats and Republicans.

Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to trust state and local government.

Republicans trust state government 73 percent to Democrats 59 percent. The gap in trust of state government between Democrats and Republicans began to significantly widen in 2010. Independents similarly distrust state government as Democrats (59 percent).

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Republicans also show significantly more trust in local government (81 percent) than Democrats and Independents (70 percent).

Gallup surmised that Republicans trust in lower levels of government closer to the people it serves is a function of their limited government mantra, even though many elected Republicans fail to live up to their professed limited government beliefs.

Gallup also noted that Republicans higher trust in state government comes from the fact that it is at the state level where Republicans have had electoral success and showcased their policy initiatives.

Mark Newgent

Mark Newgent is a contributing editor to Red Maryland, the premiere blog of conservative politics in the Free State, voted one of the best state political blogs by the Washington Post two years in a row. His writing has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Washington Examiner, National Review Online, and more. Twitter: @MarkNewgent

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