NPR logo Half Of Americans Have 'Very Little' Confidence In Congress


Half Of Americans Have 'Very Little' Confidence In Congress

It might not come as a huge shock, but Americans have less faith in Congress than at any time since Gallup began asking the question in 1973.

In its 2010 "Confidence in Institutions" survey, the polling agency reports that just 11 percent say they have a "great deal" or "quite a lot of confidence" in Congress. Half of those surveyed said they have "very little" or no confidence in their federal lawmakers. That's much more negative than last year, when only 38 percent expressed such a dower sentiment.

Other Gallup findings:

This year's poll also finds a 15-point drop in high confidence in the presidency, to 36% from 51% in June 2009. Over the same period, President Barack Obama's approval rating fell by 11 points, from 58% to 47%. However, confidence in the presidency remains higher than in 2008 — the last year of George W. Bush's term — when the figure was 26%.

The military continued its long run as the highest-ranked institution, with 76 percent of those surveyed giving it a "great deal" of confidence, although that's down from 82 percent in 2009.

Given the financial meltdown and the Gulf oil spill, you might have expected confidence in banks and big business to be down. Not so.

Twenty three percent gave banks a great deal of confidence, up from 22 percent last year. Big business may also have improved its image, rising 3 percentage points in the rankings from 2009. Of course, such small changes could be meaningless, as they are within the 4 percentage point margin of error for the survey.