It’s actually older people who have become more cynical about U.S. democracy

The percentage of Americans who have “hardly any” confidence in Congress has increased sharply since 2003. There were barely any age differentials for most of the past four decades. Now there is almost a 20 percentage-point gap between the youngest and the oldest generations. And it’s the older generations that have become more cynical.

The graph above looks at confidence in the Federal Executive. Again, it’s older, not younger Americans, who have less confidence in the executive. This is a relatively recent phenomenon. There was no age gap before the 2000s.

I also looked at confidence in nondemocratic institutions, such as the military, and did not find a similar age gap. So it seems that confidence differences are about the functioning of democratic institutions.