Gallup: Confidence in one institution plunges from 2021 for some reason

Take a guess which American civic institution lost the most confidence among the public since this time last year. The media? Yes it dropped and we’ll get to that momentarily, but not as much as you’d think — year on year, anyway. Big Tech? Barely budged. Congress? As a percentage of previous confidence, maybe, but nope.


According to Gallup, confidence in major US institutions dropped across the board with only one exception in organized labor, which remained at its 2021 confidence level of 28%. The institution that suffered the largest drop in confidence over the past year was …

Repeat the line? “The institution that suffered the largest drop in confidence over the past year was …” the presidency. Not that confidence in the presidency was impressive in the first place — only 38% in 2021 — but it fell fifteen points in the past year.

Gallup connects a dot or two along the decline:

Americans are less confident in major U.S. institutions than they were a year ago, with significant declines for 11 of the 16 institutions tested and no improvements for any. The largest declines in confidence are 11 percentage points for the Supreme Court — as reported in late June before the court issued controversial rulings on gun laws and abortion — and 15 points for the presidency, matching the 15-point drop in President Joe Biden’s job approval rating since the last confidence survey in June 2021.

Most Americans anticipated the outcome of those Supreme Court cases, of course. Joe Biden didn’t, which is why most Americans don’t have much confidence in the presidency. And for what it’s worth, the Supreme Court may be at its lowest ebb in Gallup’s longitudinal survey on confidence in institutions, but it still scores higher than the other two branches of the federal government:


Confidence currently ranges from a high of 68% for small business to a low of 7% for Congress. The military is the only institution besides small business for which a majority of Americans express confidence (64%). Confidence in the police, at 45%, has fallen below the majority level for only the second time, with the other instance occurring in 2020 in the weeks after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

This year’s poll marks new lows in confidence for all three branches of the federal government — the Supreme Court (25%), the presidency (23%) and Congress. Five other institutions are at their lowest points in at least three decades of measurement, including the church or organized religion (31%), newspapers (16%), the criminal justice system (14%), big business (14%) and the police.

Biden’s not alone in this confidence crisis, but he’s leading the way. The overall aggregate level of confidence in American institutions has dropped to a 43-year low of 27%, nine points down from the mid-2020 level of 36%, which itself was a 14-year high.

By the way, confidence in the presidency has dropped in all partisan affiliations, but guess where it dropped most. You’ll be surprised 

  • Republicans: 12% in 2021, 2% in 2022
  • Independents: 31% in 2021, 18% in 2022
  • Democrats: 69% in 2021, 51% in 2022

That’s an eighteen-point drop among Democrats. [Repeat the line.] That’s an eighteen-point drop among Democrats. I’ve been arguing for ten months that Biden has been suffering a confidence-crisis collapse and that his recent polling shows that it has finally infected Democrats. That’s solid corroborating data for that theory. Biden now inspires confidence in just barely over half of his own voters, and next to none in everyone else.


Repeat that line from now until November.

Speaking of repeating lines, Axios notes that the Gallup data also shows a historic collapse among Americans for confidence in the media. That may be more a matter of scale than the actual numbers, though, since the changes are less dramatic than for the presidency:

Americans’ confidence in newspapers and television news has plummeted to an all-time low, according to the latest annual Gallup survey of trust in U.S. institutions. …

Television news is today considered the second-least trusted institution in the country, following Congress, according to the poll.

While other institutions have also experienced precipitous declines, including banks and the medical system, others — like small business and the military — have held steady over the past few decades.

By the numbers: The trust fall in the news media been driven mostly by Republicans, according to the data.

Ahem. In the first place, these numbers don’t get this low from Republicans alone. Only 5% of Republicans have confidence in newspapers, down three over the last year, but newspapers lost seven points among independents to get to 12% over the last year, and dropped three points among Democrats. For TV news, confidence among Republicans actually rose two points to 8%, while dropping five points among indies to also hit 8% and six points among Democrats to 20%. In no partisan demo do media varieties get any level of significant confidence, and it’s well worth noting that Gallup itself doesn’t assign blame for this confidence loss in media to partisanship.


This isn’t a partisan issue — it’s a media issue, driven largely by the partisanship in delivery. To whit: Their tendency to merely “repeat the lines” coming out of the White House in the Biden era after conducting activist campaigns in the previous administration. The media is like Joe Biden in this regard — they keep looking around for scapegoats to evade the blame for the consequences of their own policies. And neither Biden nor the media are fooling anyone except each other.

End of quote.

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