Washington (CNN) – A new poll indicates that only one in four Americans say they trust the government to do what is right always or most of the time, one explanation for the anti-incumbent sentiment in the country today.
According to CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey released Tuesday, 25 percent of the public indicates that they trust the government in Washington to do what's is right most or all of the time, with 66 percent saying they trust the government to do what's right only some of the time and eight percent saying they never trust the government.
"That lack of trust in government is not a recent phenomenon - except for a brief spike fueled by patriotism immediately after 9/11, a majority have not trusted the government since the early 1970s," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
But the recession appears to have made matters worse.
"Ten years ago, roughly four in ten said they trusted the government always or most of the time; that number dropped to the mid-to-low 30's in the middle part of the decade, but then dropped to the 20s in 2008, where it has stayed ever since. The all-time low in CNN polls was in the summer of 1994 - just before Newt Gingrich led the GOP to take control on Capitol Hill - when only 17 percent said they trusted the government most or all of the time," adds Holland.
The survey indicates a partisan divide, with Democrats expressing more trust in the government, but even among Democrats, only four in ten express that level of trust in government.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted September 1-2, with 1,024 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report