Confidence in nearly every American institution – including the church – has dropped over the past year, a new Gallup poll finds. The yearly poll asks respondents to share how much confidence, ranging from “a great deal, quite a lot, some or very little,” they have in a list of American institutions.
More than half of Americans said they have confidence in only two of the 16 institutions mentioned, small businesses and the military. Sixty-eight percent said they have confidence in small businesses, while 64 percent said they have confidence in the military, although this is a 2 percent and 5 percent drop in confidence in these groups, respectively.
In 2021, 37 percent of Americans had confidence in the church, but the number dropped to 31 percent this year. The drop was reflected across all ideological groups. Confidence in the church among Republicans dropped from 52 percent to 46 percent and among Democrats from 27 percent to 26 percent. Most alarmingly for church leaders, confidence in the church dropped 10 points among independents, from 35 percent to 25 percent.
Since last year’s poll, the Supreme Court and the presidency have had the greatest drop in confidence. The Supreme Court dropped 11 points from 36 percent to 25 percent, and the presidency lost 15 points from 38 percent to 23 percent. Gallup conducted the poll before the recent Supreme Court decisions on abortion, and gun rights, so the reaction to recent opinions is not reflected. It also came after the court chose not to hear cases questioning the 2020 election.
The loss of confidence in the presidency mirrors the drop in President Joe Biden’s job approval rating since last summer. Biden now has the lowest approval rating since such polling began over 75 years ago. Confidence in the presidency and the Supreme Court reflect the polarization of the political parties. Fifty-one percent of Democrats expressed confidence in the presidency vs. only 2 percent of Republicans. While 39 percent of Republicans said they have confidence in the Supreme Court, only 13 percent of Democrats said the same.
One uniting factor in the poll is Americans’ near-complete distrust of Congress. Only 7 percent of Americans have confidence in Congress, a drop of 5 points since last year. This put Congress at the bottom of the list, with television news, big business and the criminal justice system finishing a few points ahead. Only 5 percent of Republicans, 7 percent of Independents and 10 percent of Democrats have confidence in Congress.
Polls indicate that the Democrat control of Congress will be swept away during the November midterm elections. Some political pollsters say it will be a reflection of the deep dissatisfaction of Americans for the direction of the country.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice