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Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Nurgul Aitalieva


Department of Public Policy


A collection of surveys taken over the past several decades indicates that trust in government has been declining. One of the surveys is the General Social Survey (GSS). The GSS collects information from the general public on a wide variety of subjects, including attitudes toward government, politics, and policy issues. The 2014 GSS finds that only 11 percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in the executive branch. Political trust is a crucial element of representative governance. With the upcoming Presidential election, it is critical to understand what explains public confidence in the executive branch of the federal government. To see government succeed, there needs to be a foundation of trust among all citizens. To address this research question, data from the 2014 General Social Survey are analyzed using ordered logistic regression. The main findings of this study include the following: Government employees are more likely to express confidence in executive branch leaders. In other words, government employees support the very institutions they work for. Also, Democrats are more likely to express confidence in executive branch leaders given that the White House was controlled by the Democratic Party in 2014. This study shows that executive leaders are seen as partisan leaders who have strong influence on forming attitudes toward government. Keywords: confidence in government, public/private differences, and political ideology.

Public Confidence in Government: Public Service Motivation and Political Ideology