By TIPP EDITORIAL BOARD, TIPP Insights
Falling trust in the country’s institutions is an issue that is discussed quite frequently. It is used to highlight the polarization in the society and the general air of mistrust that is seeping in regarding various governing bodies. Such skepticism also reflects the general public’s belief that the administration is using these branches of justice and law enforcement to promote narrow, partisan agendas.
Americans losing trust in the stalwart institutions and arms of the government spells trouble for the country. Deep distrust can lead to apathy and lawlessness in extreme cases. While the situation is far from dire, recent politically motivated events have brought into sharp focus the role of agencies such as the FBI and the DOJ.
In a recent Golden/TIPP Poll, we asked 1,277 adults whether they trusted or distrusted the FBI and DOJ. We found that only half the survey participants placed their trust in the two. In fact, less than half (45%) had a favorable opinion of the DOJ.
The recent, unprecedented actions of the Biden administration have deeply hurt the country. The prevailing sentiment is that the bar has been lowered. People across a broad spectrum believe that political vendetta touched an all-time low when the FBI raided the former President’s Mar-a-Lago residence.
By carrying out such a task, the role and supposed impartial nature of the nation’s top investigative agency has come into focus. As the chart below shows, the share of those who mistrust the FBI has remained steady.
Of course, there is a political angle to the issue. Trust and distrust in the functioning of the various arms of the government are heavily influenced by political leanings and ideologies. Accordingly, we plotted the numbers based on those criteria.
Clearly, the agency gained nearly as much favor with the Democrats as it lost with the Republicans – about 10 points. Interestingly, there hasn’t been a significant change among the conservatives pre/post-raid.
In the case of the DOJ, the situation is similar. Many believe that the judiciary has become a weapon that is being used for political gains and not exactly to further justice. Despite such a sentiment, post-raid, the DOJ showed an increase in the numbers of those who trust in it.
On the lines of political ideology and affiliation, the DOJ fared thus:
While the difference was almost negligible among conservatives and independents, we noted five points erosion in the Republican numbers. Of course, post the infamous raid, Democrats and liberals were much more in favor of the DOJ.
Institutions such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice must remain impartial and above politics. Their actions must instill confidence in Americans, not sow doubts. Faith in the country’s investigative and justice arms will be reflected in the overall wellness of the society.
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