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Religion in America

Digging Deeper: Confidence Part 3 - Response Timelines

by Stu Johnson
This page was added August 25, 2021, last updated September 14, 2022

Part 1Overview: Trends, impact of "Some" responses, breakdown of responses for historic Highs and Low
Part 2 (NEW)—Demographic breakdown for each institution

< back to Religion in America summary

Summary

The following charts provide a detailed timeline of responses for 15 of the 16 institutions in the 2022 Gallup survey of Confidence in American Institutions. Large Tech (Rank 9), introduced in 2020 is not included yet because there is not enough history to put in graph form yet (see Digging Deeper Parts 1 and 2 for more details on it).

When looking at charts, remember that the Gallup confidence survey is released in July, so it actually reflects responses in the second quarter of the year. This is especially important when considering elections and significant events, such as September 11 that would have occurred later that calendar year.

The Details

The following charts are sorted by 2022 Confidence Score (Great Deal + Quite a Lot responses). Reference to Overall Confidence includes "Some" responses. Some institutions have shown a decline in Confidence Score, while the Overall Score has remained more stable. For others, it is Weak Confidence (Very Lille and None) that is growing. The "Trend" indicated in the details of each is my own assessment to characterize each institution.

Browse the page, or click on a thumbnail image here to select an institution. Clicking on a timeline chart will open an enlarged version in another tab or window. Close it to return here.



NOTE: Even in the top 2 institutions—the only ones to show majority Confidence Scores in 2022—there is a clear trend that continues throughout the 2022 results: a downward ripple in confidence, where A Great Deal is down from 2021, Quite a Lot about the same, and then the decline in Great Deal shows up as a rise in Some—what I have called elsewhere an overall movement toward Lukewarm confidence. The ripple does not extend to Weak Confidence (Very Little or None) in the higher rankings, but becomes more apparent in the lower rankings.


Rank 1 2022: Small Business

SMALL BUSINESS - In survey since 2007 (16 years)
Added to list as housing crisis was building, just before the Great Recession hit

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Solid Majority but backing off from COVID peak in 2020
OVERALL (including "Some"): Very Strong and Consistently at above 90

Compared to other institutions, Small Business has been remarkably strong and steady. A "COVID bump" is evident in the Confidence Score (Great Deal and Quite a Lot) in 2020. As noted for several other institutions, this appears to be a sympathy vote for the serious, even crippling, impact of lockdowns and mitigation efforts on small businesses. That bump, however, was not seen in Overall Confidence (including Some) and moving into 2022 the Confidence Score receded somewhat to levels of the past five or six years, while Overall Confidence remained steady (Great Deal has dropped back closer to where it started in 2007, with inflation now adding to the lingering impact of the pandemic)). The pattern for 2022 is a good example of the "ripple" effect pointed out in the opening note.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 68 - (Great Deal 28 + Quite a Lot 40; from an even split last year))
2022 OVERALL: 93 - (including 25 Some)
2022 WEAK: 6 - (Very: Little 6 + None 0)
MEDIAN SCORE: 67 (over 16 years)
FIRST Score: 59 (2007)
LATEST Score:68 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 9 points UP
LOW Score: 59 (2007) - shortly before the Great Recession
HIGH Score: 75 (2020) - part of a general "COVID" bump seen that year
SPAN, Low-to-High: 16 points

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Rank 2 2022: The Military

THE MILITARY - In the survey from the beginning in 1973 (50 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Peaks amidst growing Strong Majority through 2009, then downward turn accelerating after 2019
OVERALL (including "Some"): More Consistent, Trending Upward through 2009, then slight downward trend since then

Even with the recent decline in confidence as the war in Afghanistan dragged on, ending with the disastrous evacuation that ended US presence in 2021, there are obvious peaks around specific military action, with confidence rising roughly 10 points from 1973 (for both Confidence Score and Overall) to 2009, then heading down since then, with a steeper decline in Confidence Score than Overall Confidence since 2019, its latest peak (and no COVID bump in 2020).

DETAILS
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 64 - (Great Deal 32 + Quite a Lot 32 )
2022 OVERALL: 90 - (including 26 Some)
2022 WEAK: 8 - (Very Little 8 + None 0)
MEDIAN SCORE: 67 (over 50 years)
FIRST Score: 56 (1973)
LATEST Score:64 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 8 points UP
LOW Score: 50 (1981)
HIGH Score: 85 (1991) -the first Gulf War (George H. W. Bush, President)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 35 points

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NOTE: From this point on, Confidence Scores are below or trending toward a Minority and there is a general shift toward "Quite a Lot" exceeding "A Great Deal" to make up the Confidence Score. Overall scores (including "Some") tend to be lower and follow the variations in the Confidence Score more than we saw in Majority ranked institutions with high and steady Overall scores.)



Rank 3 2022: The Police



THE POLICE - In the survey since 1993 (30 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Moderate Majority through 2009, then generally Down to Record Low in 2022
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Very Strong Majority through 2005, then very slow decline toward Strong Majority since then

Given news coverage in recent years—heightened in 2020 by national response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis—one might expect confidence in The Police to be more volatile, and to have declined more significantly. Instead, it has remained relatively stable over the 30 years it has been in the survey, with Overall confidence remaining at or above 80 in the last decade, even as the Confidence Score hit its lowest point. Note that there is something of an arc to the Confidence Score, since it started at a Bare Major tty of 52 in 1993, then generally rose through 2005 before starting a slow descent to end with its lowest score, a Strong Minority of 45 in 2022.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 45- (Great Deal 19 + Quite a Lot 26)
2022 OVERALL: 82 - (including 37 Some)
2022 WEAK: 18 - (Very: Little 17 + None 1)
MEDIAN SCORE: 57 (over 30 years)
FIRST Score: 52 (1993)
LATEST Score:45(2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 7 points DOWN
LOW Score: 45 (2022) - the Confidence Score hit a new low in 2020, with the survey taken before the demonstrations and riots following the death of George Floyd, then it rose slightly in 2021 before reaching an all-tiem low in 2022.
HIGH Score: 64 (2004) - peak of post-9/11 rise in confidence in police and fire personnel
SPAN, Low-to-High: 19 points

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Rank 4 2022: The Medical System

THE MEDICAL SYSTEM - In the survey since 1993 (30 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Solid Minority with slight decline in last decade until significant COVID-19 "bump" in 2020, then back close to 2019 level
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Strong Majority, less variance then Confidence Score

While Confidence in The Medical System has been below majority level, it has been remarkably steady over 30 years compared to other institutions. This also holds true when including "Some" in the analysis, where The Medical System has seen a Strong Majority throughout its time in the Gallup survey. The 2020 bump was a very unusual phenomenon related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Great Deal was up 7 points over 2019, Quite a Lot was up 8 points, both shifting from Some and Very Little, which went down 6 and 8 points. While declining, scores in 2022 remain slightly ahead of 2019.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 38 - (Great Deal 15 + Quite a Lot 25)
2022 OVERALL: 76 - (including 38 Some)
2022 WEAK: 24 - (Very: Little 24 + None 0)
MEDIAN SCORE: 39 (over 30 years)
FIRST Score: 34 (1993)
LATEST Score:38 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 4 points UP
LOW Score: 31 (2007)
HIGH Score: 51 (2020) -
SPAN, Low-to-High: 20 points

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Rank 5 2022: Organized Religion

ORGANIZED RELIGION - In the survey from the beginning in 1973 (50 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Strong Majority through 2000, then steadily declining into Minority
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Despite decline from Very Strong Majority, remained a Solid Majority in 2022, with variance over 50 years more moderate than the Confidence Score.

Confidence in Organized Religion kept the institution at or near the top of the rankings for many years, but scandals beginning in the 1990s and the steady beat of cultural change has brought considerable erosion in that confidence. This year it dropped to a record low Confidence Score of 31, though it rose two ranks to #5 (because Science did not reappear and The Presidency went down in rank). There was a noticeable "COVID bump" in 2020, but decline in the Confidence Score plummeted since then, though not as steep of deep as the post-September 11 decline in 2002-03. The trend is clearly visible but moderated in Overall Confidence (including Some). The biggest challenge for Organized Religion is "The Rise of the Nones," those who profess no religious affiliation, which is particularly strong among the youngest age cohorts.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 31 - (Great Deal 14 + Quite a Lot 17)
2022 OVERALL: 68 - (including 37 Some)
2022 WEAK: 31 - (Very: Little 29 + None 2)
MEDIAN SCORE: 56 (over 50 years)
FIRST Score: 65 (1973)
LATEST Score: 31 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 34 points DOWN
LOW Score: 31 (2022)
HIGH Score: 68 (1975) - for its first decade in the survey Organized Religion stayed above 60. After that it only came near that mark two more times, 1991 and 2001
SPAN, Low-to-High: 37 points

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Rank 6 2022: Public Schools

PUBLIC SCHOOLS - In the survey from the beginning in 1973 (50 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: From Clear Majority through 1970s, then retaining a fairly solid but erratic Minority
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Slow decline, more moderate peaks than Confidence Score, retains Solid Majority

Public Schools enjoyed their highest Confidence in the first years in the Gallup survey, hitting a low point in 1983 before rebounding some through the 1980s, with a slow decline since then, with more pronounced ups and downs in the past decade. Overall confidence (including "Some") has fallen about 10 points, but actually showed a slight increase from 2014 through 2020 when Public Schools, like several other institutions, experienced a "COVID bump" rising 12 points to 41, then sliding back to 32 in 2021 and 28 in 2022, still slightly ahead of the low of 26 in 2014.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 28 - (Great Deal 9 + Quite a Lot 19)
2022 OVERALL: 67 - (including 39 Some)
2022 WEAK: 33 - (Very Little 31 + None 2)
MEDIAN SCORE: 39 (over 50 years)
FIRST Score: 58 (1973)
LATEST Score:28(2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 30 points DOWN
LOW Score: 26 (2014)
HIGH Score: 62 (1975)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 36 points

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Rank 7 2022: Organized Labor

ORGANIZED LABOR - In the survey from the beginning in 1973 (50 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Strong Minority in 1970s to Weak Minority since then, with upward movement since 2007. The long-term trend in a "reverse arc," with a low point around 2007-13.
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Solid Majority that follows variations in the Confidence Score Not quite the reverse arc of the Confidence Score, Overall Confidence trends upward from 1973.

Organized Labor, once the province of auto and steel workers, coal miners and truck drivers, has changed over recent decades, with many people associating it with school teachers, government employees and others in the public sector. In the period that Organized Labor has been included in the Gallup survey, it has received mostly lukewarm support, with low Confidence numbers, but an overall majority when "Some" responses are included. The gentle rolling support is interesting, with peaks around 1977, 2004, and 2020, pushing up against the valleys of 1981-83, 1993 and 2013. (Reagan's firing of the Air Traffic Controllers occurred in August 1981, after the 1981 survey was released—In this case the downward slide in Overall confidence started in 1977 and hit bottom in 1981, preceding the bottoming out of the Confidence Score at 26 in 1982 and 1983). While the Confidence Score rose to a recent high of 31 in 2020, that fell short of the 39 points in 1977. However, the Overall Confidence (including "Some") hit a high of 76 in 2020, no doubt helped by the "COVID bump" though it had been rising steadily since 2015. Confidence was down to 28 in 2021 and 2022., still well above the low of 19 in 2007 and 2009.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 28 - (Great Deal 10 + Quite a Lot 18)
2022 OVERALL: 74 - (including 46 Some)
2022 WEAK: 25:- (Very Little 24 + None 1)
MEDIAN SCORE: 26 (over 50 years)
FIRST Score: 30 (1973)
LATEST Score: 28 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 2 points DOWN
LOW Score: 19 (2007, 2009)
HIGH Score: 39 (1977)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 20 points

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Rank 8 2022: Banks

BANKS - In the survey since 1979 (44 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Confidence takes a hit with each recession, then recovers, with the deepest dip during the Great Recession of 2008-09.
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Follows Confidence level with little moderation. The descent to the bottom for the Great Recession lagged behind Confidence Score, not hitting bottom for two more years.

Recessions are part of life and banks—big banks in particular—along with the Federal government, play a major part, so public confidence in Banks rises and falls with economic cycles. Following the recession of 1981, during the Reagan administration, confidence rose but leveled off. The recession of 1991 was deeper and the recovery during the Clinton administration more robust, continuing to a peak in 2005 during the George W. Bush administration that rose slightly higher than the recovery in the 1980s. Then the bottom fell out with the Great Recession of 2009, with recovery of confidence more evident during the second Obama term and into the Trump administration, with an upward spike of 8 points in 2020, the year of COVID and the contentious presidential election. For the 2021 survey, the early months of the Biden administration, confidence slipped back by five points, still better than any year since the bottom of 21 points in 2012. Now, in 2022 inflation came roaring back to record levels during the months preceding the survey. While the "Some" responses for other institutions show a moderating influence that tends to keep Overall response relatively high and steady, that is not the case with Banks, where the Some rise and fall almost with equal intensity in sync with the Great Deal and Quite a Lot responses.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 27 - (Great Deal 9 + Quite a Lot 18)
2022 OVERALL: 77 - i(including 50 Some)
2022 WEAK: 23 - (Very Little 22 + None:\ 1)
MEDIAN SCORE: 41 (over 44 years)
FIRST Score: 60 (1979)
LATEST Score:27 ( 2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 33 points DOWN
LOW Score: 21 (2012)
HIGH Score: 60 (1979)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 39 points

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Large Tech, Ranked #9 in 2022 is not represented in this analysis since it has only been in the Gallup survey for three years. I will include it in the Timeline section after we have another year or two of history.

NOTE: From this point on, Confidence Scores for 2022 are at or below 25 and there is a tendency for Overall Scores (including "Some") to be approaching or below 50 (Majority).



Rank 10 2022: The Supreme Court

THE SUPREME COURT- In the survey from the beginning in 1973 (50 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: From Strong Minority through 2001, then downward to Weak Minority as Confidence Score tumbles to all-time low of 25
OVERALL (Including "Some"):Fairly steady, Strong Majority throughout, then steep decline in 2022, similar to 1985-89 in shape.

The Supreme Court enjoyed majority confidence in the Gallup survey for only a short time in the 1980s, otherwise it was no lower than 40 only once until 2006, where it has remained between 30 and 40—until dropping to 25 in 2022. The 2022 survey was conducted in the heat of news coverage on the Mississippi (Dodd) case that would turn out to overturn the 1972 Roe v Wade decision (that legalized abortion in all states), sending abortion guidelines back to the states. A leaked first draft decision by justice Samuel Alito helped fuel a lot of anti-court rhetoric right around the time the survey was conducted. Overall Confidence has remained much higher but with some moderation it tracks the Confidence Score pretty closely. That could be a reflection of the relative obscurity with which the court normally operates. To the average person in recent years the Supreme Court has risen to public awareness more for the increasingly partisan and contentious process of nominating new justices than for its legal opinions. The abortion issue was a clear exception, as well as some rulings on voting rights early in 2022 that also got media (and thus, public) attention.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 25 - (Great Deal 11 + Quite a Lot 14)
2022 OVERALL: 68 - (including 43 Some)
2022 WEAK: 31 - (Very Little 30 + None 1)
MEDIAN SCORE: 45 (over 50 years)
FIRST Score: 45 (1973)
LATEST Score:25 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest:-20 points DOWN
LOW Score:25 (2012)
HIGH Score: 56 (1985, 1988)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 31 points

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Rank 11 2022: The Presidency

THE PRESIDENCY - In the survey since 1991 (32 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Strong Majority at beginning, then mostly Minority since 2005, dipping to record low of 23 in 2022.
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Follows Confidence Score very closely, reaching a low of 51 in 2022 that matches that of 2008.
WEAK CONFIDENCE ("Very Little" and "None") Hit high of 45 as Overall Confidence tied low of 51 first set in 2008 (when Very Little was 41 and None hit a high of 7).

The roller coaster path of confidence in The Presidency reflects the mix of who is in the White House when the survey is taken with that president's agenda and response to major events which may impose their own agenda (wars, recessions, natural disasters and, most recently, the COVID-19 global pandemic). Given the divisive atmosphere of the Trump presidency (2017-2020, when confidence actually went up from 32 to 39)), it might be easy to expect that confidence under Joe Biden would increase, yet it slipped one point in 2021 (the survey would have been taken only months into the new term) before tumbling 15 points in 2022 to a new low of 23. As we see in the timelines for several institutions, the swinging pendulum of party ID and ideology may contribute to some of the peaks, but the overall (and troubling) trend is decidedly down.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 23 - (Great Deal 10 + Quite a Lot 13)
2022 OVERALL: 51 - (including 28 Some)
2021 WEAK: 49 - (Very Little 45 + None 4)
MEDIAN SCORE: 39 (over 32 years)
FIRST Score: 72 (1991) - Gallup added The Presidency at the high point of confidence in the presidency of George H. W. Bush
LATEST Score:23 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 49 points DOWN
LOW Score: 23 (2022)
HIGH Score: 72 (1991)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 49 points

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Rank 12 2022: Newspapers

NEWSPAPERS - In the survey from the beginning in 1973 (50 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Hit 50 in 1979, otherwise slow and steady decline, reaching a new low of 16 in 2022
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Strong Majority through 2003, then accelerating decline approaching Minority
WEAK CONFIDENCE ("Very Little" and "None") Growing Minority, from around 10% at beginning to nearly half (46%) in 2022 (43 Very Little, 3 None)

As with other institutions surveyed by Gallup, the public response to Newspapers tends to be lukewarm, but that is being threatened as the "cold" of Weak Confidence (Very Little and None) has grown steadily since 2001, pushing toward a majority. Since the survey began in 1973, the Confidence Score broke into a Majority only once, at 51 in 1979, while the Overall Score (including "Some") has declined from a strong Majority around 80 as late as 2004 before descending into a steeper decline toward barely maintaining a majority by 2021. Of course, Newspapers have been in a desperate struggle for survival the entire time they have been in the Gallup survey, with ever more intense pressure as television network news became a factor during the Vietnam War (right before the Gallup institutional confidence survey began), followed by Cable news and the 24-hour news cycle in the 1990s, and Social Media in the 21st century. The competition for audience is intense, as is the question of truth and trustworthiness of the sources Americans use for news.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 16 - (Great Deal 5 + Quite a Lot 11)
2022 OVERALL: 53 - (including 37 Some)
2022 WEAK: 47 - (Very Little 43 + None 3)
MEDIAN SCORE: 33 (over 50 years)
FIRST Score: 39 (1973)
LATEST Score:16 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 23 points DOWN
LOW Score:16(2022)
HIGH Score: 51 (1979)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 35 points

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Rank 13 2022: Big Business

BIG BUSINESS- In the survey from the beginning in 1973 (50 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE:: Not good to start with and continuing a slow decline to a record low of 14 in 2022.
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Moderate Majority through 2000, then an apparent recovery before going down again to end 2022 at a near-low of 57, a Weak Majority.
WEAK CONFIDENCE ("Very Little" and "None") Slowly growing from about one-quarter of respondents (24%) in 1974 to Very Strong Minority of 43% in 2022 (40 Very Little, 3 None).

Confidence in Big Business has been lukewarm at best. Except for 7 years at or above 30, the Confidence Score was between 20 and 30 through 2001, then moved closer to 20. The biggest dip came with a 12 point drop from 1979 to the 1981 recession. The Overall Score (including "Some") has been in the 60 to 70 range except for the 1981 recession when it dipped below 60. That means that for most years only a quarter or less of respondents expressed a "Great Deal" or "Quite a Lot" of confidence while a third of respondents had "Some" confidence in Big Business. That leaves 30-40% of respondents expressing Little or No confidence in Big Business for nearly 50 years.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 14 - (Great Deal 4 + Quite a Lot 10)
2022 OVERALL: -57 - (including 43 Some)
2021 WEAK: 43 - (Very Little 40 + None 3)
MEDIAN SCORE: 24 (over 50 years)
FIRST Score: 26 (1973)
LATEST Score: 14 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 12 points DOWN
LOW Score: 14 (2022)
HIGH Score: 34 (1975)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 20 points

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Rank 14 2022: Criminal Justice System

THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM- In the survey since 1993 (30 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Weak Minority, with slight arc upward through 2004, followed by decline to all-time low in 2022 of 14
OVERALL CONFIDENCE (Including "Some"): Weak to Moderate Majority, peaking along with Confidence Score in 2004, then returning to level close to start
WEAK CONFIDENCE ("Very Little" and "None"): Mirroring the "arc," started with high of 49 (44 Very Little, 5 None) in 1994 to a low of 23 in 2004 (22 Very Little, 1 None) and back nearly to the beginning with 46 in 2022 (Very Little 43, None 3).

The Criminal Justice System and Big Business tied for Confidence Score (and with the same 4-10 split of Great Deal and Quite a Lot), but Big Business was three points ahead by Overall Confidence. The Criminal Justice System was not highly regarded in 1993 when it was added to the Gallup survey, but then it went up over the next decade before starting to slowly decline. It is the only institution to show this kind of "arc" over its time in the Gallup survey. (Organized Labor has a weaker "reverse arc" for Confidence Score). Considering how important it is for a democratic society to have a trustworthy justice system, it is distressing to see that we are approaching an even split between those with some degree of confidence in the system and those with Very Little or None (46% combined in the 2022 survey - up slightly from 1993, but at the front of a curve headed the wrong way!

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 14 - (Great Deal 4 + Quite a Lot 10)
2022 OVERALL: -54 - (including 40 Some)
2022 WEAK: 46 - (Very Little 43 + None 3)
MEDIAN SCORE: 24 (over 30 years)
FIRST Score: 17 (1993)
LATEST Score:14 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 3 points DOWN
LOW Score: 14 (2022)
HIGH Score: 34 (2004)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 20 points

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Rank 15 2022: Television News

Television News - In the survey since 1993 (30 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Steady decline from Solid to Weak Minority, ending with record low of 11 in 2022
OVERALL CONFIDENCE (Including "Some"): Strong Majority through 2004, then steady decline, falling into Minority in 2021.
WEAK CONFIDENCE ("Very Little" and "None") Some shirk age in first decade, to low of 17 in 2003 (Very Little 16, None 1), then growing to a Bare Majority of 53 in 2021 (Very Little 48, None 5) and 2022 (Very Little 49, None 4).

More than half of respondents in 2021 had Little or No confidence in Television News. Even though TV News was one of the competitors that caused Newspapers to struggle, TV News itself has been on the skids in terms of confidence. It leads to the question, "what news sources are people confident in?" The troubling answer is that when people no longer trust major news organizations, they turn to alternate sources that appeal to an increasingly fragmented and partisan audience that has only its own standards of credibility—Social Media, "News" Feeds, even Entertainment channels and Comedy Shows! Heaven help us!

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 11 - (Great Deal 4 + Quite a Lot 11)
2022 OVERALL: 46 - (including 35 Some)
2022 WEAK: 53 - (Very Little: 49 + None 4)
MEDIAN SCORE: 27 (over 30 years)
FIRST Score: 46 (1993)
LATEST Score: 11 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 35 points DOWN
LOW Score: 11 (2022)
HIGH Score: 46 (1973)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 35 points

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Rank 16 2022: Congress

Congress - In the survey from the beginning in 1973 (50 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Erratic decline from Strong to Weak Minority, ending at record low of 7 in 2022
OVERALL CONFIDENCE (Including "Some"): Equally erratic decline from Strong Majority to Minority, with more pronounced upward bump from 2016-2020 than is apparent in Confidence Score
WEAK CONFIDENCE ("Very Little" and "None") Erratic, but growing, from low of 13 in 1986 (Very Little 12, None 1) to a Majority of 57 in 2022 (Very Little 54, None 3)

While Congress ended up in last place by Confidence Score in 2021, in some respects it is a more mixed bag than Television News which has declined more steadily. As with The Presidency and Supreme Court, there are marked swings in partisan confidence (or lack thereof) as political winds shift, but there is no denying that Confidence has dropped to alarming lows. While the Confidence Score for Congress has almost faded out after years of struggle, the "Some" respondents have kept the Overall Score above water and actually rebounded some during the Trump years (2017-2020) before falling again to record lows falling below a Majority. .

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 7 - (Great Deal 2 + Quite a Lot 5)
2022 OVERALL: 43 - (including 38 Some)
2022 WEAK: 57 - (Very Little 54 + None 3)
MEDIAN SCORE: 24 (over 50 years)
FIRST Score: 42 (1973)
LATEST Score:7 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 35 points DOWN
LOW Score: 7 (2014, 2022)
HIGH Score: 42 (1993)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 35 points

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Religion in America

Digging Deeper: Confidence Part 3 - Response Timelines

by Stu Johnson
This page was added August 25, 2021, last updated September 14, 2022

Part 1Overview: Trends, impact of "Some" responses, breakdown of responses for historic Highs and Low
Part 2 (NEW)—Demographic breakdown for each institution

< back to Religion in America summary

Summary

The following charts provide a detailed timeline of responses for 15 of the 16 institutions in the 2022 Gallup survey of Confidence in American Institutions. Large Tech (Rank 9), introduced in 2020 is not included yet because there is not enough history to put in graph form yet (see Digging Deeper Parts 1 and 2 for more details on it).

When looking at charts, remember that the Gallup confidence survey is released in July, so it actually reflects responses in the second quarter of the year. This is especially important when considering elections and significant events, such as September 11 that would have occurred later that calendar year.

The Details

The following charts are sorted by 2022 Confidence Score (Great Deal + Quite a Lot responses). Reference to Overall Confidence includes "Some" responses. Some institutions have shown a decline in Confidence Score, while the Overall Score has remained more stable. For others, it is Weak Confidence (Very Lille and None) that is growing. The "Trend" indicated in the details of each is my own assessment to characterize each institution.

Browse the page, or click on a thumbnail image here to select an institution. Clicking on a timeline chart will open an enlarged version in another tab or window. Close it to return here.



NOTE: Even in the top 2 institutions—the only ones to show majority Confidence Scores in 2022—there is a clear trend that continues throughout the 2022 results: a downward ripple in confidence, where A Great Deal is down from 2021, Quite a Lot about the same, and then the decline in Great Deal shows up as a rise in Some—what I have called elsewhere an overall movement toward Lukewarm confidence. The ripple does not extend to Weak Confidence (Very Little or None) in the higher rankings, but becomes more apparent in the lower rankings.


Rank 1 2022: Small Business

SMALL BUSINESS - In survey since 2007 (16 years)
Added to list as housing crisis was building, just before the Great Recession hit

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Solid Majority but backing off from COVID peak in 2020
OVERALL (including "Some"): Very Strong and Consistently at above 90

Compared to other institutions, Small Business has been remarkably strong and steady. A "COVID bump" is evident in the Confidence Score (Great Deal and Quite a Lot) in 2020. As noted for several other institutions, this appears to be a sympathy vote for the serious, even crippling, impact of lockdowns and mitigation efforts on small businesses. That bump, however, was not seen in Overall Confidence (including Some) and moving into 2022 the Confidence Score receded somewhat to levels of the past five or six years, while Overall Confidence remained steady (Great Deal has dropped back closer to where it started in 2007, with inflation now adding to the lingering impact of the pandemic)). The pattern for 2022 is a good example of the "ripple" effect pointed out in the opening note.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 68 - (Great Deal 28 + Quite a Lot 40; from an even split last year))
2022 OVERALL: 93 - (including 25 Some)
2022 WEAK: 6 - (Very: Little 6 + None 0)
MEDIAN SCORE: 67 (over 16 years)
FIRST Score: 59 (2007)
LATEST Score:68 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 9 points UP
LOW Score: 59 (2007) - shortly before the Great Recession
HIGH Score: 75 (2020) - part of a general "COVID" bump seen that year
SPAN, Low-to-High: 16 points

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Rank 2 2022: The Military

THE MILITARY - In the survey from the beginning in 1973 (50 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Peaks amidst growing Strong Majority through 2009, then downward turn accelerating after 2019
OVERALL (including "Some"): More Consistent, Trending Upward through 2009, then slight downward trend since then

Even with the recent decline in confidence as the war in Afghanistan dragged on, ending with the disastrous evacuation that ended US presence in 2021, there are obvious peaks around specific military action, with confidence rising roughly 10 points from 1973 (for both Confidence Score and Overall) to 2009, then heading down since then, with a steeper decline in Confidence Score than Overall Confidence since 2019, its latest peak (and no COVID bump in 2020).

DETAILS
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 64 - (Great Deal 32 + Quite a Lot 32 )
2022 OVERALL: 90 - (including 26 Some)
2022 WEAK: 8 - (Very Little 8 + None 0)
MEDIAN SCORE: 67 (over 50 years)
FIRST Score: 56 (1973)
LATEST Score:64 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 8 points UP
LOW Score: 50 (1981)
HIGH Score: 85 (1991) -the first Gulf War (George H. W. Bush, President)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 35 points

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NOTE: From this point on, Confidence Scores are below or trending toward a Minority and there is a general shift toward "Quite a Lot" exceeding "A Great Deal" to make up the Confidence Score. Overall scores (including "Some") tend to be lower and follow the variations in the Confidence Score more than we saw in Majority ranked institutions with high and steady Overall scores.)



Rank 3 2022: The Police



THE POLICE - In the survey since 1993 (30 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Moderate Majority through 2009, then generally Down to Record Low in 2022
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Very Strong Majority through 2005, then very slow decline toward Strong Majority since then

Given news coverage in recent years—heightened in 2020 by national response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis—one might expect confidence in The Police to be more volatile, and to have declined more significantly. Instead, it has remained relatively stable over the 30 years it has been in the survey, with Overall confidence remaining at or above 80 in the last decade, even as the Confidence Score hit its lowest point. Note that there is something of an arc to the Confidence Score, since it started at a Bare Major tty of 52 in 1993, then generally rose through 2005 before starting a slow descent to end with its lowest score, a Strong Minority of 45 in 2022.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 45- (Great Deal 19 + Quite a Lot 26)
2022 OVERALL: 82 - (including 37 Some)
2022 WEAK: 18 - (Very: Little 17 + None 1)
MEDIAN SCORE: 57 (over 30 years)
FIRST Score: 52 (1993)
LATEST Score:45(2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 7 points DOWN
LOW Score: 45 (2022) - the Confidence Score hit a new low in 2020, with the survey taken before the demonstrations and riots following the death of George Floyd, then it rose slightly in 2021 before reaching an all-tiem low in 2022.
HIGH Score: 64 (2004) - peak of post-9/11 rise in confidence in police and fire personnel
SPAN, Low-to-High: 19 points

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Rank 4 2022: The Medical System

THE MEDICAL SYSTEM - In the survey since 1993 (30 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Solid Minority with slight decline in last decade until significant COVID-19 "bump" in 2020, then back close to 2019 level
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Strong Majority, less variance then Confidence Score

While Confidence in The Medical System has been below majority level, it has been remarkably steady over 30 years compared to other institutions. This also holds true when including "Some" in the analysis, where The Medical System has seen a Strong Majority throughout its time in the Gallup survey. The 2020 bump was a very unusual phenomenon related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Great Deal was up 7 points over 2019, Quite a Lot was up 8 points, both shifting from Some and Very Little, which went down 6 and 8 points. While declining, scores in 2022 remain slightly ahead of 2019.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 38 - (Great Deal 15 + Quite a Lot 25)
2022 OVERALL: 76 - (including 38 Some)
2022 WEAK: 24 - (Very: Little 24 + None 0)
MEDIAN SCORE: 39 (over 30 years)
FIRST Score: 34 (1993)
LATEST Score:38 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 4 points UP
LOW Score: 31 (2007)
HIGH Score: 51 (2020) -
SPAN, Low-to-High: 20 points

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Rank 5 2022: Organized Religion

ORGANIZED RELIGION - In the survey from the beginning in 1973 (50 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Strong Majority through 2000, then steadily declining into Minority
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Despite decline from Very Strong Majority, remained a Solid Majority in 2022, with variance over 50 years more moderate than the Confidence Score.

Confidence in Organized Religion kept the institution at or near the top of the rankings for many years, but scandals beginning in the 1990s and the steady beat of cultural change has brought considerable erosion in that confidence. This year it dropped to a record low Confidence Score of 31, though it rose two ranks to #5 (because Science did not reappear and The Presidency went down in rank). There was a noticeable "COVID bump" in 2020, but decline in the Confidence Score plummeted since then, though not as steep of deep as the post-September 11 decline in 2002-03. The trend is clearly visible but moderated in Overall Confidence (including Some). The biggest challenge for Organized Religion is "The Rise of the Nones," those who profess no religious affiliation, which is particularly strong among the youngest age cohorts.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 31 - (Great Deal 14 + Quite a Lot 17)
2022 OVERALL: 68 - (including 37 Some)
2022 WEAK: 31 - (Very: Little 29 + None 2)
MEDIAN SCORE: 56 (over 50 years)
FIRST Score: 65 (1973)
LATEST Score: 31 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 34 points DOWN
LOW Score: 31 (2022)
HIGH Score: 68 (1975) - for its first decade in the survey Organized Religion stayed above 60. After that it only came near that mark two more times, 1991 and 2001
SPAN, Low-to-High: 37 points

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Rank 6 2022: Public Schools

PUBLIC SCHOOLS - In the survey from the beginning in 1973 (50 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: From Clear Majority through 1970s, then retaining a fairly solid but erratic Minority
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Slow decline, more moderate peaks than Confidence Score, retains Solid Majority

Public Schools enjoyed their highest Confidence in the first years in the Gallup survey, hitting a low point in 1983 before rebounding some through the 1980s, with a slow decline since then, with more pronounced ups and downs in the past decade. Overall confidence (including "Some") has fallen about 10 points, but actually showed a slight increase from 2014 through 2020 when Public Schools, like several other institutions, experienced a "COVID bump" rising 12 points to 41, then sliding back to 32 in 2021 and 28 in 2022, still slightly ahead of the low of 26 in 2014.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 28 - (Great Deal 9 + Quite a Lot 19)
2022 OVERALL: 67 - (including 39 Some)
2022 WEAK: 33 - (Very Little 31 + None 2)
MEDIAN SCORE: 39 (over 50 years)
FIRST Score: 58 (1973)
LATEST Score:28(2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 30 points DOWN
LOW Score: 26 (2014)
HIGH Score: 62 (1975)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 36 points

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Rank 7 2022: Organized Labor

ORGANIZED LABOR - In the survey from the beginning in 1973 (50 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Strong Minority in 1970s to Weak Minority since then, with upward movement since 2007. The long-term trend in a "reverse arc," with a low point around 2007-13.
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Solid Majority that follows variations in the Confidence Score Not quite the reverse arc of the Confidence Score, Overall Confidence trends upward from 1973.

Organized Labor, once the province of auto and steel workers, coal miners and truck drivers, has changed over recent decades, with many people associating it with school teachers, government employees and others in the public sector. In the period that Organized Labor has been included in the Gallup survey, it has received mostly lukewarm support, with low Confidence numbers, but an overall majority when "Some" responses are included. The gentle rolling support is interesting, with peaks around 1977, 2004, and 2020, pushing up against the valleys of 1981-83, 1993 and 2013. (Reagan's firing of the Air Traffic Controllers occurred in August 1981, after the 1981 survey was released—In this case the downward slide in Overall confidence started in 1977 and hit bottom in 1981, preceding the bottoming out of the Confidence Score at 26 in 1982 and 1983). While the Confidence Score rose to a recent high of 31 in 2020, that fell short of the 39 points in 1977. However, the Overall Confidence (including "Some") hit a high of 76 in 2020, no doubt helped by the "COVID bump" though it had been rising steadily since 2015. Confidence was down to 28 in 2021 and 2022., still well above the low of 19 in 2007 and 2009.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 28 - (Great Deal 10 + Quite a Lot 18)
2022 OVERALL: 74 - (including 46 Some)
2022 WEAK: 25:- (Very Little 24 + None 1)
MEDIAN SCORE: 26 (over 50 years)
FIRST Score: 30 (1973)
LATEST Score: 28 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 2 points DOWN
LOW Score: 19 (2007, 2009)
HIGH Score: 39 (1977)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 20 points

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Rank 8 2022: Banks

BANKS - In the survey since 1979 (44 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Confidence takes a hit with each recession, then recovers, with the deepest dip during the Great Recession of 2008-09.
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Follows Confidence level with little moderation. The descent to the bottom for the Great Recession lagged behind Confidence Score, not hitting bottom for two more years.

Recessions are part of life and banks—big banks in particular—along with the Federal government, play a major part, so public confidence in Banks rises and falls with economic cycles. Following the recession of 1981, during the Reagan administration, confidence rose but leveled off. The recession of 1991 was deeper and the recovery during the Clinton administration more robust, continuing to a peak in 2005 during the George W. Bush administration that rose slightly higher than the recovery in the 1980s. Then the bottom fell out with the Great Recession of 2009, with recovery of confidence more evident during the second Obama term and into the Trump administration, with an upward spike of 8 points in 2020, the year of COVID and the contentious presidential election. For the 2021 survey, the early months of the Biden administration, confidence slipped back by five points, still better than any year since the bottom of 21 points in 2012. Now, in 2022 inflation came roaring back to record levels during the months preceding the survey. While the "Some" responses for other institutions show a moderating influence that tends to keep Overall response relatively high and steady, that is not the case with Banks, where the Some rise and fall almost with equal intensity in sync with the Great Deal and Quite a Lot responses.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 27 - (Great Deal 9 + Quite a Lot 18)
2022 OVERALL: 77 - i(including 50 Some)
2022 WEAK: 23 - (Very Little 22 + None:\ 1)
MEDIAN SCORE: 41 (over 44 years)
FIRST Score: 60 (1979)
LATEST Score:27 ( 2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 33 points DOWN
LOW Score: 21 (2012)
HIGH Score: 60 (1979)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 39 points

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Large Tech, Ranked #9 in 2022 is not represented in this analysis since it has only been in the Gallup survey for three years. I will include it in the Timeline section after we have another year or two of history.

NOTE: From this point on, Confidence Scores for 2022 are at or below 25 and there is a tendency for Overall Scores (including "Some") to be approaching or below 50 (Majority).



Rank 10 2022: The Supreme Court

THE SUPREME COURT- In the survey from the beginning in 1973 (50 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: From Strong Minority through 2001, then downward to Weak Minority as Confidence Score tumbles to all-time low of 25
OVERALL (Including "Some"):Fairly steady, Strong Majority throughout, then steep decline in 2022, similar to 1985-89 in shape.

The Supreme Court enjoyed majority confidence in the Gallup survey for only a short time in the 1980s, otherwise it was no lower than 40 only once until 2006, where it has remained between 30 and 40—until dropping to 25 in 2022. The 2022 survey was conducted in the heat of news coverage on the Mississippi (Dodd) case that would turn out to overturn the 1972 Roe v Wade decision (that legalized abortion in all states), sending abortion guidelines back to the states. A leaked first draft decision by justice Samuel Alito helped fuel a lot of anti-court rhetoric right around the time the survey was conducted. Overall Confidence has remained much higher but with some moderation it tracks the Confidence Score pretty closely. That could be a reflection of the relative obscurity with which the court normally operates. To the average person in recent years the Supreme Court has risen to public awareness more for the increasingly partisan and contentious process of nominating new justices than for its legal opinions. The abortion issue was a clear exception, as well as some rulings on voting rights early in 2022 that also got media (and thus, public) attention.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 25 - (Great Deal 11 + Quite a Lot 14)
2022 OVERALL: 68 - (including 43 Some)
2022 WEAK: 31 - (Very Little 30 + None 1)
MEDIAN SCORE: 45 (over 50 years)
FIRST Score: 45 (1973)
LATEST Score:25 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest:-20 points DOWN
LOW Score:25 (2012)
HIGH Score: 56 (1985, 1988)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 31 points

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Rank 11 2022: The Presidency

THE PRESIDENCY - In the survey since 1991 (32 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Strong Majority at beginning, then mostly Minority since 2005, dipping to record low of 23 in 2022.
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Follows Confidence Score very closely, reaching a low of 51 in 2022 that matches that of 2008.
WEAK CONFIDENCE ("Very Little" and "None") Hit high of 45 as Overall Confidence tied low of 51 first set in 2008 (when Very Little was 41 and None hit a high of 7).

The roller coaster path of confidence in The Presidency reflects the mix of who is in the White House when the survey is taken with that president's agenda and response to major events which may impose their own agenda (wars, recessions, natural disasters and, most recently, the COVID-19 global pandemic). Given the divisive atmosphere of the Trump presidency (2017-2020, when confidence actually went up from 32 to 39)), it might be easy to expect that confidence under Joe Biden would increase, yet it slipped one point in 2021 (the survey would have been taken only months into the new term) before tumbling 15 points in 2022 to a new low of 23. As we see in the timelines for several institutions, the swinging pendulum of party ID and ideology may contribute to some of the peaks, but the overall (and troubling) trend is decidedly down.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 23 - (Great Deal 10 + Quite a Lot 13)
2022 OVERALL: 51 - (including 28 Some)
2021 WEAK: 49 - (Very Little 45 + None 4)
MEDIAN SCORE: 39 (over 32 years)
FIRST Score: 72 (1991) - Gallup added The Presidency at the high point of confidence in the presidency of George H. W. Bush
LATEST Score:23 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 49 points DOWN
LOW Score: 23 (2022)
HIGH Score: 72 (1991)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 49 points

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Rank 12 2022: Newspapers

NEWSPAPERS - In the survey from the beginning in 1973 (50 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Hit 50 in 1979, otherwise slow and steady decline, reaching a new low of 16 in 2022
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Strong Majority through 2003, then accelerating decline approaching Minority
WEAK CONFIDENCE ("Very Little" and "None") Growing Minority, from around 10% at beginning to nearly half (46%) in 2022 (43 Very Little, 3 None)

As with other institutions surveyed by Gallup, the public response to Newspapers tends to be lukewarm, but that is being threatened as the "cold" of Weak Confidence (Very Little and None) has grown steadily since 2001, pushing toward a majority. Since the survey began in 1973, the Confidence Score broke into a Majority only once, at 51 in 1979, while the Overall Score (including "Some") has declined from a strong Majority around 80 as late as 2004 before descending into a steeper decline toward barely maintaining a majority by 2021. Of course, Newspapers have been in a desperate struggle for survival the entire time they have been in the Gallup survey, with ever more intense pressure as television network news became a factor during the Vietnam War (right before the Gallup institutional confidence survey began), followed by Cable news and the 24-hour news cycle in the 1990s, and Social Media in the 21st century. The competition for audience is intense, as is the question of truth and trustworthiness of the sources Americans use for news.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 16 - (Great Deal 5 + Quite a Lot 11)
2022 OVERALL: 53 - (including 37 Some)
2022 WEAK: 47 - (Very Little 43 + None 3)
MEDIAN SCORE: 33 (over 50 years)
FIRST Score: 39 (1973)
LATEST Score:16 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 23 points DOWN
LOW Score:16(2022)
HIGH Score: 51 (1979)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 35 points

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Rank 13 2022: Big Business

BIG BUSINESS- In the survey from the beginning in 1973 (50 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE:: Not good to start with and continuing a slow decline to a record low of 14 in 2022.
OVERALL (Including "Some"): Moderate Majority through 2000, then an apparent recovery before going down again to end 2022 at a near-low of 57, a Weak Majority.
WEAK CONFIDENCE ("Very Little" and "None") Slowly growing from about one-quarter of respondents (24%) in 1974 to Very Strong Minority of 43% in 2022 (40 Very Little, 3 None).

Confidence in Big Business has been lukewarm at best. Except for 7 years at or above 30, the Confidence Score was between 20 and 30 through 2001, then moved closer to 20. The biggest dip came with a 12 point drop from 1979 to the 1981 recession. The Overall Score (including "Some") has been in the 60 to 70 range except for the 1981 recession when it dipped below 60. That means that for most years only a quarter or less of respondents expressed a "Great Deal" or "Quite a Lot" of confidence while a third of respondents had "Some" confidence in Big Business. That leaves 30-40% of respondents expressing Little or No confidence in Big Business for nearly 50 years.

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 14 - (Great Deal 4 + Quite a Lot 10)
2022 OVERALL: -57 - (including 43 Some)
2021 WEAK: 43 - (Very Little 40 + None 3)
MEDIAN SCORE: 24 (over 50 years)
FIRST Score: 26 (1973)
LATEST Score: 14 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 12 points DOWN
LOW Score: 14 (2022)
HIGH Score: 34 (1975)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 20 points

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Rank 14 2022: Criminal Justice System

THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM- In the survey since 1993 (30 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Weak Minority, with slight arc upward through 2004, followed by decline to all-time low in 2022 of 14
OVERALL CONFIDENCE (Including "Some"): Weak to Moderate Majority, peaking along with Confidence Score in 2004, then returning to level close to start
WEAK CONFIDENCE ("Very Little" and "None"): Mirroring the "arc," started with high of 49 (44 Very Little, 5 None) in 1994 to a low of 23 in 2004 (22 Very Little, 1 None) and back nearly to the beginning with 46 in 2022 (Very Little 43, None 3).

The Criminal Justice System and Big Business tied for Confidence Score (and with the same 4-10 split of Great Deal and Quite a Lot), but Big Business was three points ahead by Overall Confidence. The Criminal Justice System was not highly regarded in 1993 when it was added to the Gallup survey, but then it went up over the next decade before starting to slowly decline. It is the only institution to show this kind of "arc" over its time in the Gallup survey. (Organized Labor has a weaker "reverse arc" for Confidence Score). Considering how important it is for a democratic society to have a trustworthy justice system, it is distressing to see that we are approaching an even split between those with some degree of confidence in the system and those with Very Little or None (46% combined in the 2022 survey - up slightly from 1993, but at the front of a curve headed the wrong way!

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 14 - (Great Deal 4 + Quite a Lot 10)
2022 OVERALL: -54 - (including 40 Some)
2022 WEAK: 46 - (Very Little 43 + None 3)
MEDIAN SCORE: 24 (over 30 years)
FIRST Score: 17 (1993)
LATEST Score:14 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 3 points DOWN
LOW Score: 14 (2022)
HIGH Score: 34 (2004)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 20 points

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Rank 15 2022: Television News

Television News - In the survey since 1993 (30 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Steady decline from Solid to Weak Minority, ending with record low of 11 in 2022
OVERALL CONFIDENCE (Including "Some"): Strong Majority through 2004, then steady decline, falling into Minority in 2021.
WEAK CONFIDENCE ("Very Little" and "None") Some shirk age in first decade, to low of 17 in 2003 (Very Little 16, None 1), then growing to a Bare Majority of 53 in 2021 (Very Little 48, None 5) and 2022 (Very Little 49, None 4).

More than half of respondents in 2021 had Little or No confidence in Television News. Even though TV News was one of the competitors that caused Newspapers to struggle, TV News itself has been on the skids in terms of confidence. It leads to the question, "what news sources are people confident in?" The troubling answer is that when people no longer trust major news organizations, they turn to alternate sources that appeal to an increasingly fragmented and partisan audience that has only its own standards of credibility—Social Media, "News" Feeds, even Entertainment channels and Comedy Shows! Heaven help us!

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 11 - (Great Deal 4 + Quite a Lot 11)
2022 OVERALL: 46 - (including 35 Some)
2022 WEAK: 53 - (Very Little: 49 + None 4)
MEDIAN SCORE: 27 (over 30 years)
FIRST Score: 46 (1993)
LATEST Score: 11 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 35 points DOWN
LOW Score: 11 (2022)
HIGH Score: 46 (1973)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 35 points

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Rank 16 2022: Congress

Congress - In the survey from the beginning in 1973 (50 years)

TREND
CONFIDENCE SCORE: Erratic decline from Strong to Weak Minority, ending at record low of 7 in 2022
OVERALL CONFIDENCE (Including "Some"): Equally erratic decline from Strong Majority to Minority, with more pronounced upward bump from 2016-2020 than is apparent in Confidence Score
WEAK CONFIDENCE ("Very Little" and "None") Erratic, but growing, from low of 13 in 1986 (Very Little 12, None 1) to a Majority of 57 in 2022 (Very Little 54, None 3)

While Congress ended up in last place by Confidence Score in 2021, in some respects it is a more mixed bag than Television News which has declined more steadily. As with The Presidency and Supreme Court, there are marked swings in partisan confidence (or lack thereof) as political winds shift, but there is no denying that Confidence has dropped to alarming lows. While the Confidence Score for Congress has almost faded out after years of struggle, the "Some" respondents have kept the Overall Score above water and actually rebounded some during the Trump years (2017-2020) before falling again to record lows falling below a Majority. .

DETAIL
2022 CONFIDENCE SCORE: 7 - (Great Deal 2 + Quite a Lot 5)
2022 OVERALL: 43 - (including 38 Some)
2022 WEAK: 57 - (Very Little 54 + None 3)
MEDIAN SCORE: 24 (over 50 years)
FIRST Score: 42 (1973)
LATEST Score:7 (2022)
SPAN, First-to-Latest: 35 points DOWN
LOW Score: 7 (2014, 2022)
HIGH Score: 42 (1993)
SPAN, Low-to-High: 35 points

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Home | About | Religion in America | InfoMatters Blog
Resouce Center |  Contact Us
©2022 Stuart Johnson & Associates