Trust in the US federal government

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The figure documents changes over time in ANES respondents’ answers to a question about how often they “can trust the government in Washington to do what is right”. Basically the story seems to be that there are two periods: a high-trust period before Vietnam War and Watergate and a low-trust period afterward: before the late 1960s almost two thirds of respondents said they trust the federal government “most of the time” (and about one in six said they trust the federal government “just about always”); from the mid-1970s we have about 2/3 saying they trust the government “some of the time” and 1/3 saying “most of the time”. Recent peaks and troughs (judging by the proportion saying “most of the time”) roughly track the business cycle, though the Iraq War probably contributed to the large drop between 2002 and 2006.