From Iceland — Trust In Public Institutions Decreases

Trust In Public Institutions Decreases

Published March 14, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
TommyBee/Wikimedia Commons

A new Gallup poll on levels of trust in public institutions and politicians shows confidence in the public sector decreasing somewhat.

Gallup recently conducted a poll asking Icelanders which public institutions and figures they trust most and least. Participation was somewhat low, as Kjarninn points out that two out of three respondents did not want to say which government minister they trust most.

Of those who did participate, a small but significant decrease in trust in government offices and politicians did arise. Vísir reports that the Icelandic Coast Guard is the most trusted institution in the country, with a support level of 92%.

The executive branch in general saw the greatest levels of trust, although this decreased for many of them. 74% said they trust the police, which is the lowest level of support they have received in ten years. Respondents said the same of the Parliamentary Ombudsman (52%), the State Prosecutor’s office (51%) and the State Collective Bargaining Arbitrator (48%).

Where other institutions are concerned, about 74% said they put the most trust in the University of Iceland. 46% said they trusted the health care system, which is less than they have ever received, while 32% said they trusted the courts system, which is also down from last year. The national church is trusted by 39% of respondents.

Icelanders did not seem to regard legislators very highly, as only 17% said they trusted parliament and only 19% said the same of Reykjavík City Hall.

But the biggest loser of all was the bank system – only 12% said they had any confidence in the institution.

Where government ministers are concerned, Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson has the highest level of trust from the general public: 40%. This is nearly twice that of the next most trusted minister, Minister of the Interior Ólöf Nordal, who is trusted by about 21% of respondents. Not even Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson managed this high level of support, coming in at only 17%. No other government minister received a level of trust breaking the single-digit mark.

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