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Annual 'barometer' shows largest gap between trust in business and government in over a decade

OLYMPIA — The Association of Washington Business (AWB) joined with Edelman as it releases the results in Washington state of the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer, a key measure of global perspectives on trust in business and government. Significantly, this year’s barometer identified the largest gap ever recorded between trust in business and government, underscoring the importance of transparency and cooperation by both sectors, particularly as recovery continues from the economic unrest of the last few years.

Among findings of the global annual study are that trust in both business and government in the United States declined — to 58 percent and 37 percent, respectively — reaching the widest gap (21 points) recorded since the study began in 2001. The study also found that small — and medium-sized businesses are more trusted than big business.

“Small — and medium-sized employers are the backbone of our economy,” said Kris Johnson, president of AWB. “People trust these employers because they know them personally — the hair stylist, the print shop owner, the pizza restaurant. They understand the challenges they face in today’s uncertain economy. Our small — and medium-sized employer members feel the tremors — good and bad — in the economy first, and sometimes the strongest.”

Additionally, the Edelman Trust Barometer found that 79 percent of respondents believe government should not be working alone when setting policy. AWB facilitates good working relationships with colleagues in the Legislature and with honest conversations about the impact of proposed policies on employers in Washington state. Washington employers feel strongly about the impact of regulatory changes on business and want to be involved in the regulatory process since it has a direct impact on competitiveness.

“The Barometer reveals that business is now expected to play a more meaningful role in engaging with government on regulation and public policy,” said Will Ludlam, general manager of Edelman Seattle. “Business needs to take the lead in forging a collaborative partnership with government to ensure the thoughtful, reasonable laws and regulations that will impact the future and prosperity of our state, as was as that of all Washingtonians.”

Key finding from the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer include:

  • The largest-ever gap (21 points) between trust in government and business. Trust in government fell globally four points to an historic low (44 percent), making it the least trusted institution for the third consecutive year.
  • A majority of respondents (84 percent) believe that business can pursue its self-interest while doing good work for society.
  • The Barometer identified four key factors driving trust in business: industry sector, enterprise type, CEO trust and country of origin. Technology (79 percent) and automotive (70 percent) were once again the most trusted industry sectors.
  • Company employees are the most trusted sources when discussing engagement (50 percent), integrity (37 percent), products and services (32 percent) and operations (34 percent).

About the Edelman Trust Barometer

The 2014 report is the firm’s 14th annual trust and credibility survey. The survey was produced by research firm Edelman Berland and consisted of 20-minute online interviews conducted Oct. 16 through Nov. 29. The 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer online survey sampled 27,000 general population respondents with an oversample of 6,000 informed publics ages 25-64 across 27 countries. All informed publics met the following criteria: college-educated; household income in the top quartile for their age in their country; read or watch business/news media at least several times a week; follow public policy issues in the news at least several times a week. For more information, visit: http://www.edelman.com/insights/intellectual-property/trust-2014/.

 
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