Americans still have faith in the U.S. military even though they have lost confidence in many of the other institutions that are central to U.S. society. Americans also feel good about small businesses, which are often the cornerstones of their communities.
The military and small business are actually rated higher than their historical norms, with a significant percentage of people saying they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in both.
Confidence in the police (52 percent) and organized religion (42 percent) are also at all-time lows, well below their historical averages.
“The church and organized religion is losing its footing as a pillar of moral leadership in the nation’s culture,” according to Gallup. The polling service says confidence in religion started falling in the 1980s, and experienced a sharp decline between 2001 and 2002 when the Roman Catholic Church was embroiled in a major sexual abuse scandal involving priests.
And, in recent months, incidents involving the actions of white police officers that led to the deaths of black male suspects have captured headlines across the country.
Congress and big business fare even more poorly; both fall to the bottom of the scale, with only 8 percent expressing confidence in Congress and 21 percent in big business.
The results are based on a Gallup poll conducted June 2-7.
Americans’ frustration with the government’s performance has eroded the trust they have in all U.S. political institutions, according to Gallup, which adds that Americans’ confidence in banks fell after the housing bubble burst and the financial crisis that followed.
Americans’ confidence in most major institutions has fallen since 2004, the last time most institutions were at or above their historical average levels of confidence. Since then, the United States has been bogged down with prolonged conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, a major recession, and partisan gridlock in Washington.
The year 2004 was also the last time Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going in the country averaged better than 40 percent.
Right now, 28 percent of Americans say they’re satisfied with the state of the nation.