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Trust at an All-Time Low, New Poll Finds [AUDIO]

A new survey finds most New Jerseyans, as well as most Americans, don’t trust people they don’t know.

Alex Wong, Getty images

The AP-GfK poll conducted last month found a clear majority of Americans are suspicious of each other in everyday encounters. Less than one-third expressed a lot of trust in clerks who swipe their credit cards, drivers on the road, or people they meet when traveling – the lowest percentage ever recorded.

“I think it is problematic if people feel that their distrust is forcing them to make decisions that they might not usually make,” said Rutgers sociology professor Dr. Deborah Carr. “It’s problematic if we say, ‘Well no one else is to be trusted so I might as well jump on the bandwagon and do untrustworthy things, as well,’”

She pointed out this distrust is partly fueled by sensationalized media reports of people doing bad things, especially on the internet, where there’s very little screening going on.

Dr. Carr also stressed it is important for parents to teach their kids to try to discern between those people, who are legitimately good and helpful, and those who perhaps have more problematic motives.

“We’re all kind of responsible for not only being trustworthy, but helping us to see the trustworthiness in others if it’s warranted.”

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