From the June 2006 Idaho Observer:

U.S. public widely distrusts its leaders

Gov’t., corporate scandals damage public trust in institutions at the bedrock of society

As an increasing volume of news about political and corporate leaders comes out of investigations and federal courthouses instead of boardrooms and Capitol Hill hearing rooms, a new Lichtman/Zogby Interactive poll (May 23, 2006) confirms Americans are distrustful of leaders across the societal spectrum.

Three out of four (75%) said they trust government less than they did five years ago, just 5% said they think corporations do right by the consumers they are in business to serve, and only 25% feel the reporting is fair and accurate in the newspapers they read or the nightly broadcast network news they watch on television. Nearly 60% said they believe the "state of honesty in America" today is in poor shape (18% said it is in the worst possible shape).

The poll was commissioned by author and ethics specialist Jim Lichtman. His latest book, What Do You Stand For?, is now available.

Overall, just 3% said they think Congress in general is trustworthy, compared to 24% who said President Bush is trustworthy and 29% who said they can put their faith in the national court system, the survey shows. Corporate leaders in America are nearly as widely distrusted as Congress – just 7% said they are trustworthy.

However, Americans do feel they can bank on the actions and words of their friends and co–workers – 75% said the people they work with and live near are trustworthy. Almost everyone (97%) said they consider themselves to be trustworthy, and 85% said they think their personal goals in life are less important than acting with honesty and integrity.

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