Poll: Confidence in U.S. institutions down, average at new low

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…

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.