Trust in government plummets – Edelman Trust Barometer

Trust in government in Ireland has fallen by 11 points over the last 12 months according to the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer, which also reveals that trust levels in NGOs, business and media is down over the last yar.

The Trust Index, the average trust across the four institutions of business, government, NGOs and media, showed a seven point drop for Ireland to 39 points. This places Ireland as the third least trusting country of 27 surveyed.

Government is the least trusted of the four institutions with only 21pc of people saying that they trust government to do what is right. This is the lowest level of trust recorded for Government since before the general election in 2011. Just 3pc of people said they trust government leaders a great deal to tell the truth.

NGOs in Ireland remain the most trusted institution, despite falling five points to 58pc.

Business is the second most trusted institution in Ireland, but still suffered a three point decline to 41pc. The technology sector (67pc) remained the most trusted industry sector, while banks were the least trusted at 19pc. Credibility of CEOs as a source of information about a company fell seven points to 29pc. CEOs are significantly less credible than academics (68pc). Fifty-six percent of people surveyed said they believe that government is not doing enough to regulate business with the number increasing to 81pc when specifically asked about the financial services sector.

Trust in media in Ireland declined by eight points to 37pc. Traditional media (newspapers, radio and television) are the most trusted source of information in Ireland (61pc), followed by search engines at 50pc. Only 26pc of people trust social media as a source of information.

“This year’s Irish findings are somewhat stark and perhaps we need to ask if society in Ireland really is broken,” said Edelman Ireland managing director Mark Cahalane. “There is an expectation of government to keep business in line, yet government itself is far less trusted than business.

“At the same time media and NGOs, who we expect to advocate for change, are also exhibiting signs of declining levels of trust. Arguably the opportunity now exists for business and business leaders to begin to drive an agenda for change. CEOs and other business leaders must be brave enough to make that move, but when they do, it is likely that others will follow.”

Globally, overall trust levels declined, with trust in government falling significantly in many of the 27 countries surveyed. Trust in business has stabilised at 58pc due, according to Edelman, to the perception that it has made demonstrable change in the form of better products and new leadership.

The report also suggests that globally business is now expected to play a much bigger role around the debate and design of regulation, with 79pc believing government should not be working alone when setting policy. A majority of respondents (84pc) believe that business can pursue its self-interest while doing good work for society. In addition, 74pc believe that business should be involved in formulating regulation in the energy and food industries.