Election Universe

Trust is in decline, Edelman Intelligence finds

Trust is in decline, Edelman Intelligence finds
December 18 2017, 14:07

Around the world, key democratic institutions are taking a bad hit on their trust index. This “implosion of confidence” was revealed in the 2017 Trust Barometer conducted by Edelman Intelligence, which determined that three fourths of the general population’s trust in all four key institutions — government, media, business, and NGOs has been eroding significantly.

Of the four traditional institutions, the media has seen the steepest decline in trust among the public. It is distrusted in 83% of countries where less than 50% of people trust it). Only in five countries – Singapore, China India, Indonesia, and the Netherlands – is the media enjoying trust upwards of 50%.

What is even surprising is that for the first time, the public is also trusting NGO’s less. In the US, China, Japan, Germany and the UK, trust in NGOs fell below 50%.

There is an imperative to rebuild trust and rehabilitate confidence in the institutions if democracies are to thrive. The Edelman study suggests that institutions need to grow out of their traditional roles and start forging a new operating model that puts people at the center of everything. More importantly, the said model should be designed to squarely address and calm the fears of the populace.

In a nutshell, a climate of hopelessness and skepticism where the people perceive the system to be rigged against them now hangs thickly in the air, and is fuelling the rise of populist movements currently being observed worldwide. Anti-establishment parties and candidates are drawing significant attention and support.

This disenchantment with the establishment has extended to elections, and poll commissions in many countries around the world are struggling to counter declining participation rates. According to the World Bank’s 2017 World Development Report, election turnout across the globe has dipped by more than 10% over the last 25 years.

The Edelman study seems to verify a recent Pew Research Center survey conducted across 31 emerging and developing nations which finds that a median of 52% are dissatisfied with their political system, while only 44% are satisfied.