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Esteemed Gallup Poll has grim report about public confidence in institutions

Just between the 2021 and the 2022 surveys, confidence in the presidency and the Supreme Court went down by the biggest numbers, but police, the military, the medical system and the public schools all took a hit from the previous year’s approval number.

The United States Supreme Court building in Washington.
The United States Supreme Court building in Washington.
REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

The Gallup Organization has been surveying almost every year on the public’s level of confidence in a wide array of institutions in both the public and private sectors, going back several years, and it’s out with a report of its latest confidence numbers.

In 2022, for the first time, every single institution of the 16 they asked about got a lower score than the previous year. I’ll link you below to the full list, with a comparison of the 2021 to the 2022 numbers for each institution. But the short summary is the rating range mostly from poor to putrid and all are headed in the wrong direction, meaning the overall 2022 “confidence” number was lower than the 2021 number. 

I’m not sure if they all hit new all-time lows, but it seems likely, and the average of all the numbers definitely reached a new bottom of 27%, Gallup reported. The all-time high for that number was 48% positive in 1979, the first year Gallup compiled it. 

If you click through on the link at the bottom of this summary, you’ll see that that overall average has wobbled slightly up and down over the years but the overall trend is to more and more negativity.

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Gallup also separates the responses by political party ID, and the differences were both wide and (hilariously) predictable. 

For example, while “the presidency” scored an overall rating of just 23% positive (down from 38 in 2021), that overall number was comprised of Democrats, who gave “the presidency” a 51% positive rating (down from 69 the year before); independents who gave it an 18 (down from 31); and Republicans, who gave it a 2, (down from 12). 

A few of the numbers that Gallup noted in its analysis that bear on differences across party line: 

“*Democrats and independents show more than a double-digit loss of confidence in the Supreme Court, with no meaningful change among Republicans…

“*Republicans have lost more confidence in banks than the other party groups have… 

“*Independents are significantly less confident in organized religion than a year ago, while there has been a smaller drop among Republicans and no real change among Democrats.”

The overall rating of Congress, across all partisan distinctions, went from a truly terrible 12% positive rating in 2021, to the latest number, an even worse seven percent.

Assuming the Gallup Poll knows how to ask the questions, Americans have lost quite a bit of confidence over recent years in pretty much every institution of American public life Gallup has asked about regularly.

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I’ll provide a link below so you can see the details, institution by institution. But, just between the 2021 and the 2022 surveys, confidence in the presidency and the Supreme Court went down by the biggest numbers, but police, the military, the medical system and the public schools all took a hit from the previous year’s approval number. 

Gallup has a way of averaging all the measures together and says that, overall, confidence across all institutions is at a new low of 27 percent.

If you’d like to see all the numbers from Gallup.com, along with Gallup’s analysis, you can access them here.