Institutions in Which Americans Have Most Confidence Continue to be Military, Small Business

confidence of americans

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.

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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.”:

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