A national poll finds 55-percent of Americans trust their government leaders, the highest percentage in three decades. Political science professor Tom Rice, at the University of Northern Iowa, says the public’s trust had steadily fallen -prior- to the September 11th attacks.Professor Rice says it’s no surprise the terrorist strikes “heartened” Americans. He says it was an attack on American soil that was visual, ugly and awful.Rice says Americans’ perceptions of the federal government took a nosedive after the Vietnam War, Watergate and the economic crunch of the 1970s. Traditionally, he says people tend to trust their local politicians the most, followed by the state leaders, then the national officials. Rice says people may not trust their government, but they usually trust each other.Rice expects the current mood of trust to stay high for a while, but he predicts it’ll fade slightly over time.
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