Distrust of Government at Historic Highs*

This poll result from Pew has been getting a lot of play across the internet today, but I don’t think it really means as much as people are making it out to. To put it simply, I’ d expect distrust of government to be very high during economic downturn. The government plays a sort of abstract role in giving people an entity to project their resentsments, frustrations, and anxiaties onto, and you would expect that to go up during a severe recession. The fact that 61% of respondents want the government to do more to crack down on Wall Street supports this idea, and shoots through any notion that this means what people want is “small government.” Via Mistermix, this chart of some of the polls internals is quite amusing as well:

In other words, Republicans don’t trust the government, unless a Republican is in the White House. In that case, Republicans trust the government more than any other demographic has since before the Vietnam War and Watergate. The right-wing echo chamber has certainly done its job hasn’t it?