The Washington Post

People don’t trust either party. At all.

Which party helps out the average Joe? The rich man? The struggling family?

Neither, according to just those people.

Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds the parties facing a major deficit of trust: Just as many Americans see each party's policies doing as much harm as good to their own financial situations.

Overall, 45 percent say the Democratic Party's policies "mainly help" their family's economic interests, while 45 percent say those policies "mainly hurt." By 51 to 37 percent more say the Republican Party's policies hurt than help.

More than half of each broad income category up to $150,000 believes the Republican party's policies hurt their families financially. Only those earning $200,000 or more say that Republicans help their families more than they hurt them, and even then by a relatively modest 57-33 percent margin.

It's not much better for Democrats. Just over half of people in the lowest two income categories say the Democratic Party's policies help their family economics, but they're underwater among every other income category.

But there are big differences when it comes to the two parties' presidential contenders. Six in 10 think Obama does more for the middle class than he does for the wealthy, and about the same portion says Romney would do more to help the wealthy.

The key may lie in whether the public trusts either party (or candidate) to actually make things better for anyone, rather than simply being less disliked. In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, just over four in 10 Americans (43 percent) said they are even "somewhat confident" that the country will get back on track economically if Obama or Romney is elected. A scant 13 percent were "very confident" in a turnaround during a second Obama term, 9 percent for Romney.

Scott Clement is a survey research analyst for The Washington Post. Scott specializes in public opinion about politics, election campaigns and public policy.



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