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Americans Mistrust The FBI And The DOJ But Like Their Local Police: Golden/TIPP

Law enforcement agencies must work hard to regain the trust of the American people.

Credit: by Marija Zaric on Unsplash

Most Americans lack trust in the Department of Justice (DOJ); trust in the FBI is moderate.

Americans are also polarized in how they see the nation's law enforcement agencies. Democrats are more likely to see the federal agencies in a positive light. Republicans and Independents are skeptical of them.

But Americans rate their local Police Departments the best. Yet, there are differences along racial lines and age.

These are the key findings of a Golden/TIPP Poll of 1,355 Americans conducted in early February. For each of the three agencies, the poll asked respondents: Generally speaking, how much trust do you have in the organization?

James Golden, a.k.a. Bo Snerdley, was the producer of the Rush Limbaugh program. Golden has his show on WABC. It airs Monday through Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern and Saturdays from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. You can listen to the show here.

Trust In The FBI

More Americans mistrust (47%) the FBI than trust (46%). Finer breakdown of trust in the FBI:

  • 16% a lot of trust,
  • 30% quite a bit of trust,
  • 28% little trust,
  • 19% no trust at all, and
  • 6% not sure.

Trust in the FBI divides along party and ideological lines. A majority of Democrats (57%) and most liberals (58%) trust the FBI. But, most Republicans (55%) and a majority of conservatives (58%) lack trust. A majority of Independents (53%) lack trust. Moderates divide 48% trust and 40% lack trust.

Trust In The Department Of Justice

A majority of Americans (52%) mistrust the DOJ. Only 41% trust the agency. The breakdown of trust in the DOJ:

  • 13% a lot of trust,
  • 28% quite a bit of trust,
  • 32% little trust,
  • 20% no trust at all, and
  • 7% not sure.

Here again, party and ideology drive the perceptions:

  • Most Democrats (53%) and liberals (51%) trust the DOJ.
  • Most Republicans (61%) and conservatives (57%) don't trust the DOJ.
  • Both Independents (59%) and moderates (50%) don't trust the DOJ.

Trust In Local Police Department

A majority of Americans trust (57%) their local Police Department. 39% don't trust. The level of trust in the local Police Department:

  • 22% A lot of trust,
  • 35% Quite a bit of trust,
  • 24% Little trust,
  • 15% No trust at all, and
  • 4% Not sure.

A majority of all party affiliations and ideologies trust their local Police Department. This includes:

  • 51% of Democrats,
  • 72% of Republicans,
  • 54% of Independents,
  • 72% of conservatives,
  • 55% of moderates, and
  • 52% of liberals.

The distrust is the highest among Democrats (45%) and liberals (46%).

The data shows big differences in how people think based on their race and age. While Whites (53%) and Hispanics (56%) trust their local Police Department, most Blacks (56%) lack trust.

Trust in the local Police increases with age:

  • 44% of those aged 18-24 trust; 52% don't
  • 44% of those aged 25-44 trust; 49% don't
  • 61% of those aged 45-64 trust
  • 78% of 65+ trust

The data speaks for itself and paints a sad picture of the federal agencies, and we don't want to pile on. If they want to earn back the American people's trust, these agencies have to work very hard.


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