Trust in America’s largest governmental, religious, educational, medical and educational institutions continues to languish at or near historic lows, according to the latest findings from Gallup.
“Americans’ confidence in institutions in 2023 represents the continuation of the historic confidence deficit recorded a year ago,” Gallup notes of the June 1-22 survey. “None of the 15 institutions rated annually managed to repair their images, with many remaining at or near their all-time lows.”
Last year, the polling company recorded significant declines in public confidence in 11 of the 16 institutions that it tracks annually, with the presidency and Supreme Court fairing worst.
Confidence in the court is at 27% and the presidency 26%. Gallup also found poor public confidence in 14 other major institutions, which remains relatively unchanged from last year’s record lows.
Small business enjoys the greatest public trust, with 65% of Americans saying they have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of confidence in it. A majority, 60%, also have high confidence in the military, while less than half (43%) feel this way about the next highest-rated institution, the police.
The medical system and the church or organized religion round out the top five rated institutions, albeit with meager 34% and 32% confidence ratings, respectively. Another six – the U.S. Supreme Court, banks, public schools, the presidency, large technology companies and organized labor – hover between 25% and 27% confidence.
The five worst-rated institutions – newspapers, the criminal justice system, television news, big business and Congress – inspire confidence in less than 20% of Americans. Congress is rock bottom, with just 8% confidence.
Most institutions are within three points of their all-time-lows, including four that are at or tied with their worst rating. These are the police, public schools, large technology companies and big business.
Only four institutions are significantly above their historical low: the military, small business, organized labor and banks.
“However, the lows for these institutions were recorded more than a decade ago, while the recent trend for each has been downward,” Gallup notes.
Taken all together confidence in these major institutions has generally trended downward since registering 48% in 1979 and holding near 45% in the 1980s. It averaged closer to 40% in the 1990s and early 2000s before dropping to the low 30% range in the 2010s. Last year was the first time it fell below 30%.
MOST POLARIZING INSTITUTIONS
Seven of the institutions measured this year earn sharply higher confidence ratings from one major party group than the other. Here’s what Gallup found: