The public's trust in institutions -- from Congress and corporations to labor unions and political parties -- is at an all-time low. Twenty years ago, most Americans said they trusted their leaders to "do what was right." Today, seventy-five percent say just the opposite.
Leading pollsters say the root cause of this declining trust is anxiety about the future of the American Dream -- the promise that hard work will be rewarded with a decent standard of living. The polls tell us less than forty percent of workers say they now earn enough to lead the lives they aspire to living.
When pollsters ask -- just who do you blame for this economic insecurity -- the answer is surprising: 2% blame Wall Street; 5% blame big companies; 7% blame the press; 11%, the President; 35%, the Congress; and 39% blame the public itself!
To find out more about what America is thinking about its economic future, browse through this poll (which professionals and academics regard as objective and statistically sound):
The Pew Center for the People and the Press
This fall 1995 poll used the same 75 questions for the American public that have served as a barometer of basic attitudes and values over the years. (This poll is conducted at least once a year).
FRONTLINE / WGBH Educational Foundation