Poll: Utahns Overwhelmingly Trust State Government

Despite a strong anti-federal government strain, 3/4 of Utahns say they trust their state government.

A Gallup survey finds 75% of Utahns say they have either a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in their state government. That ranks Utah 3rd behind North Dakota and Wyoming.

Interestingly, Gallup found higher population states had a lower trust in their state government, while states with lower populations had more trust.

The population size-trust relationship may help explain the finding that trust in state government tends to be higher in Republican-leaning states than Democratic-leaning ones, since larger states tend to be Democratic and smaller states Republican. Using Gallup’s 2013 data on state party affiliation, average trust in state government is 67% in solidly Republican or Republican-leaning states, 58% in competitive states, and 53% in solidly Democratic or Democratic-leaning states.

All of the 10 most populous states are either Democratic or competitive, according to Gallup’s party affiliation estimates. The most populous solid or leaning Republican state is Tennessee, which ranks 17th in population size. North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Alaska rank among the top states in trust and the bottom states in population, and are all Republican-oriented states. Additionally, there are many other cultural, economic, and demographic factors that correlate with population size and politics that could help explain the trust-partisanship relationship.