My Trust in Government Is Implicit: Automatic Trust in Government and System Support

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Authors Chanita Intawan, Stephen P. Nicholson
Journal/Conference Name THE JOURNAL OF POLITICS
Paper Category
Paper Abstract How distrustful are people of government? Although large majorities of Americans express distrust in government, we propose that most of these same individuals also possess an implicit, gut-level trust in government. Using a common method to measure attitudes that people are either unwilling or unable to self-report, we found that most respondents implicitly trust government and that implicit trust is largely unrelated to explicit trust (as self-reported in surveys) and does not meaningfully vary by party identification or demographic characteristics. We also found that implicit trust is politically consequential, helping illuminate why a distrustful public nevertheless exhibits diffuse support and trust in the government to address crisis events, both foreign and domestic. We conclude that most Americans are of two minds about government, possessing both a positive, implicit trust and negative, explicit trust, and that each type matters in explaining orientations toward government.
Date of publication 2018
Code Programming Language R

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