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75% in US See Widespread Government Corruption

GALLUP (Washington, D.C.) — Three in four Americans (75%) last year perceived corruption as widespread in the country’s government. This figure is up from two in three in 2007 (67%) and 2009 (66%).

While the numbers have fluctuated slightly since 2007, the trend has been largely stable since 2010. However, the percentage of U.S. adults who see corruption as pervasive has never been less than a majority in the past decade, which has had no shortage of controversies from the U.S. Justice Department’s firings of U.S. attorneys to the IRS scandal.

corruptionSTORYFINALThese figures are higher than some might expect, and while the lack of improvement is somewhat disconcerting, the positive takeaway is that Americans still feel fairly free to criticize their government. This is not the case in some parts of the world. Questions about corruption are so sensitive in some countries that even if Gallup is allowed to ask them, the results may reflect residents’ reluctance to disparage their government. This is particularly true in countries where media freedom is restricted.

This is why it is most appropriate to look at perceptions of corruption through such lenses as the Freedom House’s Press Freedom rankings. Ratings vary among countries with a “free press,” including the U.S., and range from a high of 90% in Lithuania to a low of 14% in Sweden. The U.S. does not make the top 10 list, but notably, it is not far from it.

Is corruption widespread throughout the government in this country, or not?

These data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with approximately 1,000 U.S. adults each year, aged 15 and older, conducted between 2007 and 2014. For results based on the total sample of national adults in the U.S., the margin of sampling error has typically been ±4.0 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

For results based on the total sample of national adults across the 134 countries surveyed in 2014, the margin of sampling error ranged from ±2.1 percentage points to ±5.6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup’s Country Data Set details.

Learn more about how the Gallup World Poll works.

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  • Brabantian

    Justice Dept ‘leaker’ says Trump will change things big time re USA corruption – Very striking conversation on 4chan /pol/ site, with someone who claims to be an insider US Department of Justice (FBI etc) government official, deeply involved in the criminal investigations affecting Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump etc

    The key take-away from this ‘US Justice Dept official’ is that, though Clinton & Trump are both corrupt, Trump’s corruption is minor relative to the Clintons & their ‘Foundation’… and that a Clinton presidency – which he thinks will not happen – would involve global war with Russia & China

    Whereas, this ‘US Justice Department official’ says, honest US officials hope for a Trump presidency, as they believe Donald Trump will begin a pull-back on US war-making & a clean-up of US corruption including indictment of Hillary Clinton

    This ‘US official’ says that USA ex-President Bill Clinton will likely be dead this year

    This ‘US official’ says that, “The entire government is corrupt .. you cannot possibly ask the entire government to prosecute itself”

    This ‘US official’ says that the Clinton e-mail scandal is relatively trivial, the big crimes are related to the ‘Clinton Foundation’, not just bribery etc relating to the US, horrid crimes by powerful individuals, but also regarding issues of war & relations among nations

    This ‘US official’ says that Trump is also ‘corrupt’, sufficiently so that he could be criminally charged … but much less so than Clinton

    This ‘US official’ says that if Clinton would become President – which he thinks is actually unlikely, Clinton may be removed – there would be war with Russia & China, and a nightmare of corruption involving string-puller Soros & significant Jewish influence

    This ‘US official’ says that, US Justice ministry staff are in general in fear of being killed, for taking any actions regarding the immense wall of corruption which they comprehend, which is much larger than most anyone would guess

    This ‘US official’ says that, for all his failings, if elected, Trump will actually do some house-cleaning in the US regime, criminally prosecute Hillary Clinton & do much against US corruption

    This ‘US official’ says that, the difficulty is, there is so much corruption that if it were all exposed, US government would collapse, there would be civil war inside the US, & perhaps global military alliance against the US

    This ‘US official’ says that, amidst the difficulty, a somewhat ‘controlled’ and step-by-step unveiling of the corruption – as Trump would do – is likely the best route to serve the public

    Here is the 4chan discussion with this ‘US official’ in a photo-image … the comments by the ‘US official’ are highlighted in peach-orange coloured boxes … click on image to enlarge