• Description

This report presents the findings of multiple largescale national surveys of Americans about the state of trust in America. It finds significant evidence for deep and widespread levels of distrust across society. Among national institutions—government, media, and business— More in Common tested in December 2020, none earned the trust of a majority of Americans. Levels of interpersonal trust were similarly concerning, with a majority of Americans saying you "can't be too careful in dealing with other people" and one in three Americans saying there is no community outside of friends and family where they feel a strong sense of belonging.

These topline findings paint a stark picture. If we probe deeper, however, we discern important distinctions in the probable drivers of distrust. Understanding these nuances does not make the overall picture brighter, but it can illuminate potential solutions and pathways to renew trust. Two distinctive "stories" of distrust are evident in the data—an ideological 'us versus them' distrust and a 'social distrust' that tracks interactions and feelings of belonging, dignity, and equality. These two stories are not fully comprehensive of the myriad drivers of distrust in America, but they capture distinctive ways distrust relates to ideology and experience. It is a challenging moment to generate broader consensus that building trust should be a national priority. This report focuses on how drivers of distrust vary among Americans as these distinctions may provide new opportunities for such efforts.