Poll: Trust in federal government's competence remains low

These latest figures, from Gallup’s Aug. 31-Sept. 13 annual Governance poll, are essentially unchanged from 2019 and match the averages recorded since President Donald Trump took office in 2017. They are also within one percentage point of the trust levels measured during former President Barack Obama’s second term, from 2013 to 2016, but below those in his first term.

In 2012, after Obama had declared an end to the war in Iraq and was promising to end the war in Afghanistan, Americans were particularly confident in the government’s ability to handle international problems (66%).

Gallup first asked these questions in the 1970s and then picked them up again in 1997, and has since asked them every year except for 1999. The trend since 1997 shows that trust peaked in October 2001, a month after 9/11, at 83% for international problems and 77% for the domestic arena. Since then, these figures have gradually trended downward and have mostly been at or below 50% since 2013.