English title: Social Trust and Attitudes Toward Democracy

Author(s): Sonja Zmerli - Kenneth Newton -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2008

Abstract

In spite of the great importance attached by social capital theory to the role of social trust in maintaining stable and effective democracy, research has produced rather weak and mixed support for the idea that the socially trusting individuals tend to be politically trusting, and the weight of evidence suggests either a weak or insignificant relationship between social and political trust. The present work, however, reports robust and statistically significant correlations between generalized social trust, on the one hand, and confidence in political institutions and satisfaction with democracy, on the other. The associations are significant in 23 European countries and in the United States. This article argues that its findings are more accurate and more reliable than much of the previous work because they are based on better and more sensitive measures. The results pose a dilemma for future survey work, while reopening possibilities for social capital research.

Volume: 72

Issue: 4

From page no: 706

To page no: 724

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1093/POQ/NFN054

Journal: Public Opinion Quarterly