The Swarm

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October 21, 2010
Poll shows Californians really distrust government

With less than two weeks to Election Day, the big headlines are understandably the horse-race numbers out of the Public Policy Institute of California's new poll.

Jerry Brown has widened his lead over Meg Whitman for governor, but Sen. Barbara Boxer's edge over Carly Fiorina has narrowed.

But the exhaustive survey, released Wednesday night, shows some troubling trends for whoever wins on Nov. 2: They'll face distrust that is at or near record highs.

The poll found that 68 percent of Californians say the federal government is run by a few special interests looking out for themselves, rather than being run for the benefit of all. While below the record 74 percent just before the 2008 presidential election, that's up 9 percentage points since May 2009, and suggests that voters don't see the change in Washington that President Barack Obama promised.

Also, 69 percent say they trust Washington to do the right thing only some or none of the time. And 63 percent say the federal government wastes a lot of tax money.

The confidence in state government is even lower: 75 percent of Californians say state government is run by a few big interests - the highest percentage in the 14 times PPIC has asked the question. Also, 79 percent say they can trust Sacramento to do the right thing only some or none of the time - also a record high. And 66 percent say state government wastes a lot of tax money.

That lack of public confidence will be an overarching challenge for the new governor to carry out their agenda.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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