According to a recent Gallup poll, confidence in several institutions are at all-time lows. Respondents were asked about 14 different institutions and how much confidence they have in them. Not surprisingly, Congress has the lowest figures, dropping over the last ten years from 19% to 9% of respondents saying that they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the institution.
The four biggest losers according to the Gallup poll were banks, organized religion, news media, and Congress. Gallup reported:
Confidence in banks — which took a hit amid the bursting housing bubble in 2007 and 2008, and dropped further after the ensuing financial crisis — fell the most, plunging from 49% in 2006 to 27% now. Confidence in organized religion, which has felt the effects of the scandals enveloping the Catholic Church, dropped from 52% to 41%, one point below last year’s previous low of 42%. Television news, newspapers and Congress all dropped 10 points — pushing newspapers to a 20% confidence level, two points below their previous low of 22% in 2007 and 2014.
Despite the declining percentages of Americans having high confidence in these institutions, the majority have at least “some” confidence in all but one of them. Congress has the ignominious distinction of being the only institution sparking little or no confidence in a majority of Americans.
In contrast, the Gallup poll found that Americans’ confidence in the military has remained high, even over the last decade. Over the last ten years, confidence in the military has remained at 73%.
It’s this extreme loss of confidence in the news media and Congress that made Donald Trump’s candidacy so receptive to voters. He has been able to run as a political outsider and harsh critic of the media and elected officials in government, all of which has helped propel him to victory. It remains to be seen whether it will be enough to help him win in the general election.