The 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer research was conducted October/November 2012. It ranks a selected group of countries through a survey on how trustworthy their citizens think their key institutions are.
Edelman conducted an online survey which sampled 26,000 general population respondents with an oversample of 5,800 informed publics in two age groups (25-34 and 35-64) across 26 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 Singapore, despite a high level of trust Singaporeans place in the government as an institution, Singaporeans’ trust in the leadership of their government was revealed to be a lot less.
For those Singaporeans who were polled by Edelman:
- 23% said they trusted government leaders to tell the truth
- 72% said they trusted government to do what is right as an institution
Edelman’s Singapore managing director Amanda Goh, tried to explain the gap, “Individual leaders are not getting the credit for the stability and strength of their institution, which are perhaps already deemed stable, but do take the blame when things have gone wrong.”
Straits Times Editor, Yap Koon Hong, who wrote about this yesterday (4 Mar), explained that it could be due to public trust in leadership today being increasingly “driven by instinct and feeling, perhaps more so than by thought and considered reasoning”.
He said, “Visceral instincts, not hard-headed reasoning, explain why two constituencies went to opposition hands at the two by-elections after the 2011 General Election. Both seats fell vacant for similar reasons: the incumbent’s reported sexual impropriety. But voters turned against the ruling party when it was its candidate who had the affair; while continuing to support the opposition party whose candidate’s misbehaviour triggered the by-election.”
People take for granted the good things the PAP did in the past. “The public now has different expectations of its leaders,” he said.
He believes that there is a gap between what people expect and what the government leaders are delivering, resulting in negativity towards the establishment.
“That is why the vocal clout of social media, whose default sentiment is anti-establishment, is magnified many times beyond its actual size,” he added.
Source: TRE website