The invaluable Edelman Trust Barometer released Jan. 23 documents the massive disconnect people worldwide have with government. Trust in government charted the biggest decline in the 11-year history of the Barometer. Credibility of a government official or regulator dipped from 43 percent in 2011’s survey to 29 percent, which ranks on the bottom of the list, below CEOs (38 percent) and financial/industry analysts (46 percent).

Richard Edelman
Richard Edelman
The Edelman survey of 25,000 people in 25 countries found that while two-thirds of respondents expect government leaders to listen to “citizens’ needs and feedback” only 17 percent feel that their gripes are heard. A mere 19 percent of respondents say government “effectively manages the financial affairs of the country," and 16 percent say leadership “communicates frequently and honestly.”

Despite the trust deficit gap, people support governmental regulation of business Only four percent say “government should not play a role in business.” Thirty-one percent believe government "should protect consumers from irresponsible business practices” and 25 percent want regulators to “ensure companies are behaving responsibly.”

On a nation-by-nation breakout, 77 percent of Chinese believe government “does not regulate business enough.” That’s followed by Spain (70 percent), Mexico (68 percent), Ireland (64 percent) and Hong Kong (61 percent). The U.S. weighs in at 40 percent. Singapore, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Poland and Netherlands are the five nations rounding out the list.

A big surprise: media is the only institution (government, business, non-governmental organizations) measured by Edelman to show a rise in trust. The biggest gains were made in India (+20 points), U.S. (+18), U.K. (+15) and Italy (+12).