Research Repository

Why Do Voters Lose Trust in Governments? Public Perceptions of Government Honesty and Trustworthiness in Britain 2000–2013

Whiteley, Paul and Clarke, Harold D and Sanders, David and Stewart, Marianne (2016) 'Why Do Voters Lose Trust in Governments? Public Perceptions of Government Honesty and Trustworthiness in Britain 2000–2013.' The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 18 (1). pp. 234-254. ISSN 1369-1481

Full text not available from this repository.

Abstract

<jats:p> This article: Notes that public perceptions that governments are honest and trustworthy are surprisingly volatile over time, but they move together in a long-term equilibrium relationship with indicators of policy performance and perceptions of fairness of the decision-making process. Argues that if individuals feel that policy delivery, particularly in relation to the economy, is working well then they will trust the government of the day even if they oppose a particular decision. Maintains that if they feel that the process of governing is unfair then they are likely to view the government as being both dishonest and untrustworthy. Indicates that evaluations of political leaders are powerful heuristics for allowing voters to judge the honesty and trustworthiness of a government. Provides evidence that there is a long-term trend decline in perceptions of government honesty even after taking into account policy process and performance. </jats:p><jats:p> The aim of this article is to analyse trends in public perceptions of the honesty and trustworthiness of British governments over the period 2000 to 2013, years of great political and economic change in British society. These perceptions are surprisingly volatile over time, but they are stimulated by general elections and even more so by a change of government. Perceptions of government honesty can be understood to be the product of both policy delivery and public attitudes to the way democracy works in Britain. If individuals feel that economic policies and the delivery of public services are working well and also that democracy is effective, then they will trust the government of the day. In addition perceptions of government trustworthiness are strongly influenced by the public’s evaluations of the Prime Minister, since the voters use this as a heuristic to judge the honesty of a government. </jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: government honesty; policy delivery; time series analysis; multi-level modelling
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2016 13:20
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 00:52
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/16902

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item