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“Public Faith in Congress Falls Again, Hits Historic Low
Of major U.S. institutions, Americans most confident in the military
by Rebecca Riffkin
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ confidence in Congress has sunk to a new low. Seven percent of Americans say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Congress as an American institution, down from the previous low of 10% in 2013. This confidence is starkly different from the 42% in 1973, the first year Gallup began asking the question.

Confidence in Congress since 1973

These results come from a June 5-8 Gallup poll that updated Americans’ confidence in 17 U.S. institutions that Americans either read about or interact with in government, business, and society.

Americans’ current confidence in Congress is not only the lowest on record, but also the lowest Gallup has recorded for any institution in the 41-year trend. This is also the first time Gallup has ever measured confidence in a major U.S. institution in the single digits. Currently, 4% of Americans say they have a great deal of confidence in Congress, and 3% have quite a lot of confidence. About one-third of Americans report having “some” confidence, while half have “very little,” and another 7% volunteer that they have “none.”

Confidence in Congress has varied over the years, with the highest levels in the low 40% range recorded in the 1970s and again in the mid-1980s. Confidence rose in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but has declined since 2004, culminating in this year’s historic low.

Three in Four Americans Have High Confidence in the Military

The military continues to rank at the top of this year’s list, with 74% of Americans having either a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the institution. Another 20% of Americans have “some” confidence in the military. Seven percent have very little or no confidence. The military has ranked at the top of the list all but one year since 1989. Prior to that, the church or organized religion, now with 45% confidence, typically finished first.

Confidence in Institutions

As is the case with confidence in Congress, Americans’ confidence in many of these institutions has changed over time. The current 74% of Americans who have high levels of confidence in the military is actually lower than it has been in the past. Confidence in the military spiked in March 1991 to 85%, just after the first Persian Gulf War, but fell back through the 1990s. It also spiked in 2002 and 2003, after 9/11, and again in 2009, just before U.S. troops began withdrawing from Iraq.

Still, the current 74% confidence level is significantly higher than the average 67% rating given…”

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