Surprise of the day: More than half of Arizonans actually trust the state government.
According to a Gallup poll, 57 percent of Arizona residents trust the state government, which seems extraordinarily high, given the circumstances.
Right now, Arizona has the eighth-highest unemployment rates among the 50 states.
Two Arizona lawmakers, Ben Arredondo and Richard Miranda, have been convicted of federal crimes in recent years. Another lawmaker, Scott Bundgaard, got into a fight with his girlfriend on the side of the road, while another lawmaker, Daniel Patterson, was forced out of his job by his fellow lawmakers after being accused of all sorts of weird behavior.
Lest we forget the fact that a majority of the lawmakers appear to be beholden to a theocratic Christian organization, the Center for Arizona Policy, the force behind anti-gay SB 1062, and apparently the most powerful force at the state capitol.
Over at the attorney general's office, you have Attorney General Tom Horne, who's committed a hit-and-run, been tailed by undercover FBI agents, accused of campaign-finance improprieties, and hired his alleged mistress with a six-figure salary.
Over at the governor's office, Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law, but also sometimes makes up stuff, like the headless bodies littering the Arizona desert.
For those with longer memories, seven state lawmakers were convicted of charges for taking bribes in a sting operation known as AZSCAM. Former Governor Fife Symington was convicted of fraud while in office, for his previous dealings in real estate (he was eventually pardoned by President Bill Clinton). Before that, Governor Evan Mecham was impeached from office.
And this is nowhere near a conclusive list of all the corruption or scandals uncovered in various parts of the state government, but just a few notable examples.
So how are 57 percent of people trusting the state government?
According to the Gallup poll, that 57 percent is just below the national average. In Illinois, the trust is at 28 percent, but it's above 40 percent in all other states.
Our guess for why Arizona's rate of trust is 57 percent is the way the question was worded (emphasis ours):
How much trust and confidence do you have in the government of the state where you live when it comes to handling state problems -- a great deal, a fair amount, not very much, or none at all?
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Not that the state is known for being particularly adept at solving problems, but it might explain why the rate is so high, rather than a focus on the people who are tasked with solving these problems.
In the poll, 11 percent of Arizonans said they trust the government a great deal, 46 percent said they trust it a fair amount, 29 percent said they don't trust it very much, and 13 percent said they don't trust it at all.
Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.