Despite the continued problems plaguing Washington and Wall Street, voters still have a healthy respect for and trust in local government. It might not be as strong as it was in 1999, but the 68 percent of support that Gallup found in a recent survey is more than 40 percent higher than similar ratings of Congress.

The numbers, largely unchanged since 1998, signal that while other forms of government are subject to the influences of economic bubbles and bursts, local governments are only modestly affected. On the strength of these numbers, Gallup asserts that there remains strong public support for realigning many areas from Washington and to local jurisdictions, including education, environment regulation, and crime control.


Two-thirds of Americans have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in their local governments to handle local problems, and a solid majority feel the same way about their state government.

Confidence in state government matched confidence in local government as recently as 2008; however, the former fell sharply in 2009 as statehouses across the country began to grapple with major budgetary problems, and it has yet to fully recover.

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