Trust in US institutions plunges in Trump’s first year: Major survey

This article is more than 12 months old

DAVOS Trust in US institutions, particularly the government, has plunged in President Donald Trump's first year in office, according to a leading survey released on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The annual Edelman Trust Barometer showed overall trust in the four institutions it measures - government, media, business and non-governmental organisations - falling more steeply in the US than in any of the 28 countries surveyed.

Mr Trump has repeatedly denounced the media and judiciary - attacks his critics say risk undermining public confidence in those institutions.

In contrast, the country that saw the biggest trust gains among its citizens was China.

Faith in the Chinese government jumped eight points to 84 per cent. In the US, it fell 14 points to 33 per cent.


"The United States is enduring an unprecedented crisis of trust," said Mr Richard Edelman, head of the communications marketing firm that commissioned the research.

Pointing to the steep erosion in trust in the US, Mr Edelman said it was the first time since the survey began 18 years ago that such a precipitous drop was not linked to a specific event, such as an economic crisis or catastrophe, like the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

Instead, it comes when the US economy is showing robust growth and stock markets are at record highs.

"Normally when things are going well, trust is pretty good," Mr Edelman said.

He attributed this to a politicisation of the public discourse in the US and elsewhere that has left many people confused about what is fact and what is fiction.

The survey showed nearly two in three people are unable to distinguish reliable news from rumours and falsehoods.

The Edelman survey showed a deeper lack of trust in US institutions among the "informed public" or people who are college educated, earn above-average incomes and consume news regularly. - REUTERS