"Seismic shift found in trust in government", by Will Lester, Associated Press, reprinted in The Sun Chronicle, November 30, 2001, page 7.
"WASHINGTON: Americans' trust in government has increased to levels not seen in more than three decades, driven by both the September terrorist attacks and the Bush administration's response. Overall trust in government and institutions has been at the root of many dramatic changes in public opinion. Approval has increased for Congress, the United Nations, and the news business. Bush's job approval has hovered near 90 percent for more than two months.
"Pollsters, historians and social scientists are watching closely to see if the increased trust in institutions that came after the terrorist attacks will be long-term, like some public opinion shifts during earlier wars, or will fade quickly. The monitors of public sentiment tend to agree the length of positive feelings about government is related to the duration of security threats and the government's performance. 'This is a watershed event resulting in a true shift in public opinion', said John Robbinson, a sociologist at the University of Maryland .... 'On the question of trust in government, I think this is ... more likely to be a long-term change'."
The number of Americans who think government can be trusted to do what is right most of the time has risen to six in 10, according to a recent Gallup poll. That's a level not seen since the 1960's, before Vietnam, civil unrest and the Watergate scandal set off a steady erosion of trust in government ... Those who closely monitor public opinion ... said the terror threat may have changed something fundamental about how the government is perceived."