A Gallup poll that was released on Sept. 19 revealed that in 2014, 75 percent of Americans say that widespread corruption is pervasive in the U.S. government. This figure is 9 percentage points higher than six years ago, when 66 percent of Americans agreed that government was corrupt. It does, however, mark a 4 percent drop from 2013, when 79 percent -- nearly four out of five Americans -- voiced concern over corruption.
The Gallup poll surveyed roughly 1,000 Americans via telephone between 2007 and 2014. Gallup states that the margin of error on their results stands at plus or minus 4 percentage points, making for a 95 percent confidence level.
In an international poll conducted by Freedom House, the U.S. ranks as the 13th population most distrustful of its government. Their poll only includes countries that have freedom of the press. Ghana and Portugal are the third and second most pessimistic populations with Lithuania topping the list with 90 percent. Sweden ranks at the very bottom of the list with just 14 percent of Swedes suspecting corruption in their government.
This distrust of government is not surprising, considering the many government scandals that have been given attention from the press in the last five years. One such scandal made headlines this year after it was discovered that an Arizona Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital had fabricated waiting lists to make their treatment of U.S. veterans appear more efficient and effective, NBC reported. The VA is still struggling to rebuild its reputation and raise its level of care.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was still being investigated by the Department of Justice as of late August of this year after being accused of purposefully targeting conservative nonprofits in the run-up to the 2012 presidential elections, the New York Post reported.
In June 2013, Edward Snowden fled to Hong Kong with a cache of classified material revealing U.S. National Security Agency’s (NSA) pervasive surveillance of U.S. citizens, including collecting phone records archived by data companies, according to BBC.
The American people’s disillusionment with government is being reflected in the 2016 presidential election. In the Republican primary, the three current front-runners are the business-oriented Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina and retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson. None have been previously elected into office but are leading the rest of the Washington-insider pack.