Americans are losing confidence in many things, but not these three

Americans are losing confidence in many things, but not these three

Americans, it seems, are growing increasingly dubious, skeptical, even cynical about many of their once-hallowed institutions.

These include especially Congress. But any such disapproval list also contains TV news, newspapers, unions, public schools and even the criminal justice system.

Only two institutions — the military and small business — hold an overwhelming net positive opinion in the minds of Americans. The volunteer military has by far the most public confidence — 94 percent with a great deal or some confidence in it. Only five percent have none, according to a new Gallup phone survey of 1,520 adult Americans..

Small business draws some or a lot of confidence from 83 percent, with only six percent none. “The police” have 85 percent with at least some confidence, but a large number of no confidence — 15 percent.

After those institutions the confidence numbers decline rather rapidly, suggesting if continued a long-term threat to political stability. More on that below.

Organized religion draws some confidence from 71 percent, but none from 11 percent. The presidency in general has 37 percent a lot of confidence, 18 some and 44 none.

The Supreme Court 37, 42 and 18; the medical system 36, 37, 26; banks 30, 46, 22; public schools 29, 44, 27; and organized labor 26, 45, 25.

Then comes big business with 25, 43 and 30; newspapers 23, 35 and 40 for a net negative of 17; our system of criminal justice 22, 31 and 46 for a net negative of 14; television news 20, 34,and 45 for a negative 25.

Congress brings up the tail end with only 11 percent having a lot of confidence, 39 percent some and a whopping 48 percent none, giving the national legislature a net negative confidence of 37.

This is, of course, merely one poll, albeit a respected one and a snapshot of opinion in June 2018. But it does provide a revealing glimpse into a representation of public opinion and at least a partial explanation for why more than half of Americans so consistently say the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Long-term historically in many countries such widespread sentiments have encouraged or at least permitted aberrant political movements and leaders to come to power.