A lot of Americans trust their local government. More than a lot, actually. According to a recent poll from Gallup, “Americans continue the decade-long trend of being more trusting of their local government than of their state government. Currently, 72% of U.S. adults say they have a “great deal” or a “fair amount” of trust in their local government.” Local governments in the U.S. fall under two categories: counties and municipalities. In some states, counties are even divided into townships. Quite honestly, this information is pretty boring until you start digging into the details. Here are a few nuggets that were particularly interesting:
Americans Prefer Local Gov’s to State Gov’s
When asked the same question about their state governments, Americans’ responses were not as enthusiastic. Compared to the 70+ percent of people who love their local municipality, only 63% felt okay with how their state government was performing.
State Government Approval is Volatile
Approval of state government varies greatly. For example, in 1998 when the economy was booming and people had fake money in their pockets from the dot-com bubble before it crashed, state government approval stood at a whopping 80%! Compare that to 2009 when state government approval registered an all-time low of 51%. This isn’t really surprising seeing as how it was the first data available after the bottom of the Great Recession.
Democrats Trust Local Government (Right Now)
Currently, Democrats don’t have much power at the Federal Level, but their desire to trust some form of government didn’t simply evaporate. Instead, it filtered down to the local level where right now “78% of Democrats say they have confidence in local government — up from 66% in 2016, and the highest level of trust they have recorded on this measure from 2001 to today.” These stats manifest themselves in a few different ways, but take the upcoming midterms for example. According to CNN, Democrats have broken their nomination record for the House specifically with women candidates. “Of the 234 women running for the House, 182 are Democrats and 52 are Republicans. The previous record of Democratic nominees was 120 in 2016.”
Republicans Trust Local Government
74% of Republicans trust their local government and this is the exact average of trust the GOP has had in their local municipalities since 2001. At first, this may seem shocking, but then again, not really. The GOP tends to view smaller government more favorably than big government so the percentage matches the perspective.
Final Thoughts from Gallup
Americans’ trust in local government has been pretty stable over the past 10 or so years. The big picture: “Democrats have focused on local and state contests in the time since Republican President Donald Trump’s election — often framing these races as a referendum on the president. And they have had some important wins at the state level, with last year’s Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections marking key victories.” Regardless of your political views, people like Leslie Knope would be proud.