I’ve been saying this for a long time, with a Pew poll now mooring the mounting discontent where it belongs. In the fall of 2008, when the financial crisis occurred. As I’ve also written, it was health care that ignited it.
The recent downward trend in trust in government began in the fall of 2008, when public satisfaction plunged amid the financial crisis.
[...] A second element is presidential politics. Trust in government is typically higher among members of the party that controls the White House than among members of the “out” party. However, Republicans’ views of government change more dramatically, depending on which party holds power, than do Democrats’. Republicans are more trusting of government when the GOP holds power than Democrats are when the Democrats are in charge.
This pattern is particularly evident in the Obama era. The president’s policies – especially the year-long effort to overhaul the health care system – have served as a lightning rod for Republicans.
I’ll address the right’s never ending and always acrimonious “distrust” of Democrats in another essay, which basically boils down to the right always trying to delegitimize Democrats when they’re in power.
But first, the other real issue that traditional media ignores is the rise of independents, which Pew has also analyzed as more Republican than Democratic, though it’s possible this is a bit premature, but their evidence does confirm a contagion of other polling that links the frustrated and generally ticked off Tea Party people with the right.
A third factor is that a particular subgroup of independents, who are financially pressed, chronically distrustful of government and who typically lean to the Republican Party, appears to be especially angry today. Pew political typology surveys in the past have labeled these individuals as “disaffecteds.” This group may explain, in part, why at least as many Republican-leaning independents (37%) as conservative Republicans (32%) say they are angry with the government. And identical percentages of Republican-leaning independents and conservative Republicans (53% each) say they agree with the Tea Party movement.
We’ve got a perfect storm brewing for November, with few openings left for Democrats in Congress, an institution that just about all likely voters loathe.