WASHINGTON (AP) — Can you trust your fellow man?
About two-thirds of Americans who answered an AP-Gfk poll say no. In 1972, it was only one-half.
The poll conducted in November says Americans are suspicious of each other in everyday encounters, such as clerks who swipe their credit cards, other drivers on the road or people they meet when traveling.
Purdue University political scientist and public opinion researcher April Clark says so much distrust is not a good thing. Clark says distrust seems to encourage corruption, and she says even the rancor and gridlock in politics might stem from the effects of an increasingly distrustful America.
Some studies suggest it's too late for most Americans alive today to become more trusting. That research says the basis for a person's lifetime trust level is set by his or her mid-twenties and unlikely to change, other than in some unifying event such as a world war.