I stumbled onto the Gallup polling website over the weekend. I would like to say I was surprised at what I saw. I really wasn’t. Our confidence in our U.S. institutions is historically low. I mean low.
Let me get this one out of the way first. And this one hurts. Confidence in TV news is at 11 percent. Down from 16 percent a year ago.
The only other “institution” that scores lower… Congress. 7%. Down from 12% a year ago. I guess I can be proud that confidence in my business is higher than that of Congress.
Confidence in newspapers is at 16%. Down from 21% from a year ago.
I’ll get to the institutions that fared better in a bit. First a few more that are hurting. The U.S. Supreme Court. It lost eleven percentage points. Confidence in 2021 was at 36%. Now, 25%.
It should be noted that this Gallup poll was taken before the court issued controversial rulings on gun laws and abortion. The survey was conducted June 1-20.
To the presidency. Down 15 percentage points. 38% in 2021. 23% now. That’s the biggest hit in the survey.
Big tech lost three points. Big business lost four. The criminal justice system lost six.
So, does anything fare well in this Gallup poll? None of 16 institutions showed any improvement. Some however, did better than others.
Small business, the military, the police score at the top of the list. The medical system, organized religion and public schools follow.
Gallup has been measuring confidence in institutions since 1973. The average of 27% of Americans who say they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in all these institutions is three points below the prior low in 2014.
Here’s something interesting too. This year’s confidence level is down nine points from 2020. Americans, Gallup suggests, rallied around some of the institutions most affected by Covid. Those would be the medical system, public schools and organized religion.
Here is Gallup’s bottom line on this year’s confidence survey: Americans trust in key institutions has been lacking for fifteen years. It hit a new low this year.
Why? Why is this happening? We just don’t trust our institutions anymore. None of them seem to be able to address inflation, gas prices, gun violence and illegal immigration.
Will it ever get better. I’m not a pollster. I don’t work for Gallup. From where I sit though, we’ve got a long way to go to trust again.
From where I sit at the TV News anchor desk, we have a really long way to go to get the public’s trust again too.