Middle Class Distrusts Govt.

Recent interviews of more than 2,000 Americans conducted by the Gallup Organization have found that hostility to government is concentrated in the white, small-town middle class, The Washington Post has reported.

James Hunter, a sociologist at the University of Virginia, commissioned the Gallup survey for a study called "The State of Disunion." The survey concluded that the people most mistrustful of the government tend to be:

  • Activist Christian right members.
  • Middle class, well-educated white people from small towns in the West and East Central states.
A substantial minority of those interview expressed deep hatred for government. "Of the two-thirds to three-quarters of Americans who generally suspect that government is run by selfish, big interests," the Hunter study reported, "only a minority repeatedly expresses unequivocal conspiratorial allegations. Still, one-quarter of the population repeatedly express the conviction that the government is run by a conspiracy."

According to Hunter, "strong suspicions of conspiracy flourish in the West, fade as they move eastward, and perish on their trek across the Alleghenies".

Some statistics:

  • 64 percent of those interviewed believe that the "governing elite" is insensitive to the people's concerns, and 69 percent believe that they are only concerned with their own agenda.
  • 81 percent of Christian right supporters think the United States is in strong or moderate decline, as opposed to 51 percent of the general population.
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