Distrust

Yesterday’s “oh noes” Pew poll, showing distrust of government at an all-time high, has some interesting internals. For example, Republicans sure do love it when their guy is in charge, no matter what he does:


Look at the Democrats — we’re equal-opportunity haters.

That said, the Pew survey was in the field during the HCR debate. They did a re-survey on the overall trust question after HCR passed, and “trust among Democrats rose somewhat from 34% in March to 42% in early April.”

25 replies
  1. 1
    Cat Lady says:

    Kennedy/Johnson sure was a high water mark. We were all so young and optimistic then, with a handsome young charismatic president and sane Republicans. Sigh.

  2. 2
    beltane says:

    Virtually all rank and file Republicans were unquestioning in their support of Bush during all but perhaps the last year of his term. And by unquestioning, I mean trusting to the point of slavish devotion. Our local Republicans marching in the Memorial Day parade with their cardboard cutouts of Bush and signs proclaiming him to be “The Great Liberator” said it all for me. These people are now sulking around flying “Don’t Tread on Me” flags as they spew vitriol against the government.

    Liberals in general tend to be suspicious of power, whether it is corporate power, religious power, or government power. Conservatives worship power on principle and are only irate when they do not posses it.

  3. 3
    ericvsthem says:

    Watching Countdown last night, Keith noted that % distrusting govt was lower in October ’08. But I guess that little fact is inconvenient for some people in the media…

  4. 4
    mr. whipple says:

    Look at the Democrats—we’re equal-opportunity haters.

    Boy, that’s an understatement.

  5. 5
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    Hmm – there also seems to be some difference between Republican dislike for Clinton and Carter on the one hand and Obama on the other. I wonder whatever could be colouring the different reactions?

  6. 6
    beltane says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans: But don’t call them racists. They are merely showing respect to their racist forebearers by expressing racist beliefs.

  7. 7
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    I wonder whatever could be colouring the different reactions?

    Interesting choice of words. But, of course, it is the soc iaIism. Right?

  8. 8
    Steeplejack says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    I wonder whatever could be colouring the different reactions?

    I see what you did there.

    P.S. Let me once again grumble about the pop-up Reply button. If a comment fills out a line, as Phoenician’s does (on my screen), the Reply gizmo covers it up, which makes it hard to (a) copy text underneath it–I got the text and the “Reply” text–and (b) click on a hyperlink underneath it.

    I would prefer a static Reply button out of the way. Just sayin’. Grumble, grumble.

    ETA: But please, please, please do not break the whole blog for three weeks just trying to accommodate my OCD whims. And, oh, yeah, FYWP.

  9. 9
    toujoursdan says:

    @Cat Lady:

    I also think it was because government had worked fairly well. That was after the expansion of public services – a vastly improved infrastructure, the G.I. bill and Pell Grants and new public universities and community colleges available to the middle class for the first time, millions had been lifted out of Depression Era poverty and America was on its way to the moon. Being a government official or “bureaucrat” was still called “public service”, was still considered a “real job” and was still respected then.

    Both Democrats AND Republicans believed that government could play a positive role in making society work. They both had supported stratospheric taxes (by today’s standards) and that showed.

  10. 10
    Mumphrey says:

    I still wonder what Bush would have had to do to lose those last 25% or whatever it was. I think he could have cut on the head of a cute puppy and drunk its blood at a press conference, and they still would have found a way to say it was all right to do it or he needed to do it to keep us safe or something. If he’d done it to a baby, his support might have dropped to 20 or 22%.

  11. 11
    gnomedad says:

    Polls show Dems are the real conservatives; consistently mistrust government!

  12. 12
    DougJ says:

    @gnomedad:

    Polls show Dems are the real conservatives; consistently mistrust government!

    I think that is genuinely correct.

  13. 13
    Lisa K. says:

    Republicans sure do love it when their guy is in charge, no matter what he does

    Just more affirmation that the size of government has nothing to do with anything-these assholes just hate losing an election.

    A competent Democratic party would take this and run with it, but noooo….we are all David Broder now…

  14. 14
    ellaesther says:

    I heard the report yesterday (on NPR of course because I eat the arugula) and just thought: I don’t trust the government!

    The question was “Do you trust the government all or most of the time,” and I mean — I’m a post-Watergate kid. I love this president, and I love Pelosi and I love one of my Senators (the other one’s Burris, so, you know), and I love my Congressman — really and truly — and I also know them to all be powerful people in a situation where power is the currency. I know that people in power don’t always do nice things, or the right things, or the things they say they will, even when they are the very people that I elected and am glad to see in office.

    I think what I’m saying here is: I’m a grown-up. I know when to be skeptical.

    And I think a lot of the GOP’s voters essentially aren’t, and don’t.

    I’m also saying that I don’t think these numbers say what people think they say. The sky – she is not falling!

  15. 15
    St. Ronald of Raygun says:

    The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’
    Is this how “Skynet” comes about? Or better yet a real live “Monopoly” The resulting class action lawsuit bankrupts the school district which in turn bankrupts the township. Donald Trump rides in to town in shining armor and saves the town if all the residents agree to sell their souls to Beezlebub. Coming soon to a city near you – I for one welcome our new suave Comb Over Overlord. (You may kiss Lord Murdoch’s ring)
    Ever notice that Murdoch and Mordor sound eerily similar?

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A suburban school district secretly captured at least 56,000 webcam photographs and screen shots from laptops issued to high school students, its lawyer acknowledged Monday.

    “It’s clear there were students who were likely captured in their homes,” said lawyer Henry Hockeimer, who represents the Lower Merion School District.

    None of the images, captured by a tracking program to find missing computers, appeared to be salacious or inappropriate, he said. The district said it remotely activated the tracking software to find 80 missing laptops in the past two years.

  16. 16
    Smiling Mortician says:

    It’s interesting — and when I say “interesting” I mean manipulative and dishonest — that the survey question asks about “government” but the metric applied to the response is “president.” Do I trust The Government? You mean, including Boehner and Cantor and the boys? Um, no. Do I trust Obama? Well, that’s a different question . . . but Pew doesn’t really care about that.

  17. 17
    RedKitten says:

    26% of Dems trusted the Bush II (Incompetent Boogaloo) administration?

    WTF?

  18. 18
    PeakVT says:

    This is worth repeating:

    Liberals in general tend to be suspicious of power, whether it is corporate power, religious power, or government power. Conservatives worship power on principle and are only irate when they do not posses it.

  19. 19
    Randy P says:

    @Smiling Mortician: Interesting point. But note that in the Clinton administration we have only 25% of Republicans saying they trust the government, and during most of that time the Republicans held Congress.

    So what does that mean? They don’t trust their own people to govern?

  20. 20
    Lurking Canadian says:

    Nixon really screwed you people for good, didn’t he?

  21. 21
    ellaesther says:

    @Lurking Canadian: A-yup. I watched those hearings as a very young girl, and that was all she wrote, man.

    @Randy P: As a rule (for which I only have my gut and a series of hunches as back-up, so, you know, this isn’t science), when Americans hear “government” they think “President.” That’s my impression, anyway, and I think the numbers you’re talking about support that.

  22. 22
    Gus says:

    @Lurking Canadian: Yes, indeed. The thing is things have actually gotten worse since Nixon. Bush and Rove’s ratfucking operations made Nixon look like a boy scout.

  23. 23
    Elie says:

    Well, there is distrusting government as a theoretical, narcissistic construct and then there is the reality of Mogadishu — completely government free.

    People in this country are torn between seeing themselves as “all in this thing together” and being a part of a big community of shared interests versus some dark fantasy about somehow that community is actually a sinister tool to control and manipulate by “the other”. All the while, the people most afraid of the dark fantasy are indeed controlled and manipulated by those who use that fear to keep them selling themselves out and their own interests.

    No one wants to live in Mogadishu — and yet, the whole apparition on being without “interference” from government has taken such an elan, that one would believe that this should be some exalted, desirable state, rather than anarchy. The whole lust for guns and toting heat to “protect oneself” (because government is either out to get you or wont protect you) plays in line with this mind set…

    Is what people want NO government, or good, balanced government? I think that distinction is critical and needs to be posed back to those who are idealizing NO government… Mogadishu I dont think is on anyone’s wish list…

  24. 24

    […] and shoots through any notion that this means what people want is “small government.” Via Mistermix, this chart of some of the polls internals is quite amusing as […]

  25. 25
    JSD says:

    @toujoursdan: Yup, and then Nixon F’d it all up. Also, that was before Woodstock, Pink Floyd, hippies, civil rights, destruction of the middle class, etc. Also, back then southern Dems were still controlled by the racists.

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