A new Gallup poll has just been released, and it contains some shocking data regarding the general public’s perception of many major American institutions. According to a June survey of 1,027 randomly-chosen adults from all 50 US states and Washington DC, faith in Congress has plunged to 7%, the lowest level ever recorded by the polling company. In fact, that 7% is the lowest level of confidence noted in any institution in the history of Gallup polling. The poll tested the opinions of Americans on 17 major social, government, or business-related institutions. Gallup has been testing the public’s faith in various institutions for 41 years, though some individual categories have been added to the survey at various points throughout the history of the poll.
Public confidence in the police also plummeted to near-historic lows. Over the past 10 years, faith in law enforcement has dropped by 11% to 53%, just one percent higher than the historic low of 52%, which was recorded in 1993. Police poll numbers dropped 4% since last year.
The Gallup poll also demonstrated a precipitous drop in the public’s faith in television news as a source of information. Once a trusted institution polling at 46% in 1993, confidence in television news programs has slipped to an all-time low of 18%. News found on the internet, on the other hand, surpassed TV news programs, reaching 19% in the survey. Though newspapers polled the highest among media sources at 22%, that number matches the previous all-time low noted in 2007.
Confidence in small business scored high marks at 62%, while organized labor struggled to gain traction, polling at 22%. Faith in public schools also reached a historic low in the poll at 26%. The presidency dropped by 7 points and polled at 29%, just a few points above its all time low of 25%, which was recorded in 2007. The Supreme Court, with 30% expressing confidence, also tracked at its lowest point in the history of the survey. Faith in the criminal justice system was noted at 23%, dropping 5 points, though it has never fared well in the poll ever since Gallup added it in 1993. The criminal justice system’s highest mark ever was 34% in 2004, and it has reached as low as 15%, which happened in 1994, the second year in which it was added to the survey. Confidence in the military dropped slightly, from 76% to 74%, yet remained fairly high.
Overall, the poll noted significant cynicism among the general public with so many institutions approaching or reaching historic lows. Seven different government-run institutions saw their numbers drop, demonstrating a general anti-government sentiment among Americans.