Drivers of Low Trust in Government During Biggest Election Year

2024 will be a historic year as 2 billion people are heading to the polls to vote in 50 countries around the world, including large democracies like India, Indonesia, Mexico, the EU and the USA, making it one of the biggest election years ever. With regulations being viewed as critical to advancing the sustainability agenda, voters’ ballots will have a great influence on future environmental and social policies around the world. 

However, our general public opinion data has long shown that a significant proportion of people do not trust their national government to act in the best interest of society. At the global level, almost half of people (48%) say they do not trust their national government, with Latin Americans and Europeans surveyed particularly prone to expressing mistrust. What fuels this continued mistrust in government? Results show that mistrust is mostly driven by perceptions of governments and individual officials acting mostly in their own interest and being corrupt, criminal, or simply dishonest. Others criticize poorly designed economic policies or decisions that only benefit the already privileged, as well as negative impacts by governments on the environment and society.

As we embark on a decisive and uncertain election year, these findings emphasize the importance of safeguarding public trust in the very officials they elect and the democratic system around them.

Source: GlobeScan Radar Trends Report (survey of 29,565 people in the general public in July ‒ August 2023)​

Survey Question: Why do you not trust our national government to operate in the best interest of our society?​