Picking up on an interesting finding from the General Social Survey, the Associated Press conducted a national poll on Americans and trust.
The General Social Survey found that the number of Americans who say most people can be trusted has plummeted. Back in 1972, when the GSS first asked the question, half of respondents said most people can be trusted. These days, it's down to one-third.
To flesh out the GSS a bit more, the AP released a new survey today (pdf). It found that "Americans are a mistrustful bunch."
-- "78 percent have little faith in people they meet while traveling, saying they trust them 'just somewhat,' 'not too much' or 'not at all.'"
-- "75 percent mistrust people driving cars while they're driving, biking or walking."
-- "55 percent don't much trust the people they hire to come into their homes to do work."
-- "50 percent have little trust in the people who prepare their food when they eat out."
-- As for government: 81 percent said they trust Washington to do what is right "only some of the time."
The AP hired GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications to conduct the poll of 1,227 adults. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.