The ANES Guide to Public Opinion and Electoral Behavior

Trust in Government Index 1958-2016

  '58 '60 '62 '64 '66 '68 '70 '72 '74 '76 '78 '80 '82 '84 '86 '88 '90 '92 '94 '96 '98 '00 '02 '04 '08 '12 '16
Average Score on Index 49 ** ** 52 61 45 39 38 29 30 29 27 31 38 47 34 29 29 26 32 34 36 43 37 26 22 17

Percentage Within Study Year
Table 5A.5.

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Percent among demographic groups who responded:

Average Score on Index


The Trust in Government Index is constructed as follows:
Variable VCF0604 (Table 5A.1) is recoded: None of the Time=0,
Some of the Time=33, Most of the Time=67, Just About Always=100.
Variable VCF0605 (Table 5A.2) is recoded: Few Big Interests=0,
Benefit of All=100. Variable 606 (Table 5A.3) is recoded:
A Lot=0, Some=50, Not Much=100.
Variable VCF0608 (Table 5A.4) is recoded: Quite a Lot=0, Not Many=50,
Hardly Any=100.
These new scores are then totaled (Don't Know is not scored)
and the sum is divided by the number of valid responses. The
result is then rounded to the nearest integer.
The questions used are:
"People have (1958,1964: I'd like to talk about some of the) different
ideas about the government in Washington. These ideas don't refer
to democrats or republicans in particular, but just to government in
general. We want to see how you feel about these ideas..
VCF0604: "How much of the time do you think you can trust the government
in Washington to do what is right-- just about always, most of the
time or only some of the time?"
VCF0605: "Would you say the government is pretty much run by a few big
interests looking out for themselves or that it is run for the
benefit of all the people?"
VCF0606: "Do you think that people in the government waste a lot of money
we pay in taxes, waste some of it, or don't waste very much of it?"
V608: "Do you think that quite a few of the people running the
government are (1958-1972: a little) crooked, not very many are, or do
you think hardly any of them are crooked (1958-1972: at all)?"

2012 data are for the combined (face-to-face and internet) sample.

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