Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Public trust in government and American Presidents

Wonkblog has an excellent graphic that captures the plummeting trust in government among American public.

It's no surprise that George W Bush's tenure was associated with near halving of the trust in government, comparable only to the infamous Nixon administration. Two observations

1. It is commonly held that incumbents see war mongering as good politics in the build up to re-election. But managing the consequences of international interventions may not be as beneficial. The graphic appears to suggest that not only does it affect the electoral fortunes of the President's party, but also contributes to erosion of public trust in government. Johnson, Nixon, Carter, and the Bush father-son, who all led the US into external military interventions, presided over steep declines in public trust as the country started facing the fiscal, social, and political repercussions of the engagement.

2. Bill Clinton, despite all his personal controversies, appears to have presided over a period of striking increase in public trust in government. Was Clinton one of the great President's of the United States or was he just damn lucky to be the President at one of the most opportune moments in American history? 

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