According to Gallup’s 2015 survey of Americans’ confidence in major institutions, only the military (72%) and small business (67%) — the highest-rated institutions in this year’s poll — are currently rated higher than their historical norms.

(Click to see larger version of the graphic above)


As we’ve explored before, there’s one competitive advantage that small businesses have over big businesses: By a gap as wide as the Grand Canyon, Americans trust the “institution” of small business far more than they trust big business. Indeed, only Congress ranks lower than big business on Gallup’s annual survey of American’s confidence in the nation’s institutions.

These results are based on a June 2-7 Gallup survey that included the company’s latest update on confidence in U.S.

“Americans’ confidence in most major institutions has been down for many years as the nation has dealt with prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a major recession and sluggish economic improvement, and partisan gridlock in Washington,” says Gallup. “In fact, 2004 was the last year most institutions were at or above their historical average levels of confidence. Perhaps not coincidentally, 2004 was also the last year Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going in the United States averaged better than 40%. Currently, 28% of Americans are satisfied with the state of the nation.”

Confidence in U.S. Institutions as ranked by Gallup survey participants

Survey participants were read this: “Now I am going to read you a list of institutions in American society. Please tell me how much confidence you, yourself, have in each one — a great deal, quite a lot, some, or very little?”

This is a ranking of the percent of participants who answered either “a great deal” or “quite a lot.”:

72% | The military
67% | Small business
42% | The police
52% | The church or organized religion
37% | The medical system
33% | The U.S. Presidency
32% | The U.S. Supreme Court
31% | The public schools
28% | Banks
24% | Organized labor
24% | Newspapers
23% | The criminal justice system
21% | Television news
21% | Big business
 8% | Congress


Graphic: SmallBusiness.com

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Highlights of Babson College Small Business in America Research | 2016

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