Gallup Poll of Trust Shows Conservative America
Gallup on June 19 published a poll that dealt with American confidence in institutions, alleging that public faith in Congress reached the lowest point since the question had been polled. Was that the real story? An analysis of the polling results of American confidence in different institutions, and a review of those results over time suggests something much more significant: Americans overwhelmingly express confidence in those institutions historically connected with conservatism and overwhelmingly express little faith in those institutions historically connected with leftism.
The June 19 poll story itself provides a clear picture of how conservative Americans feel when identifying those institutions they trust or do not trust. The first five institutions in which Americans say that they have “a great deal” of confidence or “quite a lot” of confidence are, in order, the military, small business, the police, churches, and the medical system.
The bottom of the list includes those parts of the leftist establishment, from the bottom of the list up: Congress, television news, news on the internet, big business, organized labor, and newspapers. Three of those six are arms of the establishment news media. Congress is an institution that activist conservatives instinctively distrust (just ask ex-Majority Leader Eric Cantor); big labor is entirely controlled by the left.
What about “big business”? Most conservatives have grown to see giant corporations as fawning supplicants for adulation by the left. While conservatives certainly support businesses growing wealthy in the free market, it is small business that conservatives love and trust. Big business seems to be in bed with the Washington insiders, and political correctness reeks from every commercial and every public statement made by these corporate giants.
Banks are right in the middle of the institutional trust list, which is probably where most conservatives would place them: willing to use the federal government to protect their interests, just like other big business, but operating largely within a free market, where incompetence is punished and efficiency is rewarded.
The historical poll data also shows some interesting trends. Public schools were once also sacrosanct in policy debates. While the methods and funding for public schools might be questioned, the system itself was recognized as performing a great good that helped all Americans. In 1975, 62% of respondents to Gallup said that they had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in public schools. Ten years later, in 1985, that percentage had plummeted to 48%. In 1995, only 40% of Americans felt so positively about public schools. Ten years later, in 2005, confidence in public schools drooped to only 37%. So how many Americans in this latest Gallup Poll expressed confidence in public schools? A paltry 26%. In four decades, American confidence in public schools fell an incredible 40 percentage points.
Other institutions nestled in leftism have suffered a dramatic loss of trust. Television news, whose level of trust was first measured in 1993, has nosedived from 47% in 1973 to 18% in the latest Gallup Poll. The Supreme Court in 1985 had 51% of Americans persuaded to have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence, although ten years later that dropped to 44%, then dropped again ten years later to 41% – and in the latest Gallup Poll, confidence had dropped to only 30%.
In the last twenty years, confidence in the military was actually grown even higher. Confidence in the police has stayed about the same, and confidence in the medical system has actually jumped up a bit. Only organized religion, among institutions conservatives would be expected to trust, has declined, although the percentage of people who distrust organized religions has actually dropped a bit, too – and the politically correct bent of many mainline churches may account for this distrust. Belief in God remains extraordinarily high among Americans and highest among conservatives, as it has in every poll in the last seventy years.
What the "trust in institution" polls conducted by Gallup really show is what the Battleground Poll, the Gallup Poll questions on ideology, and Survey USA and other polling organizations have been reporting for some time: America is overwhelmingly conservative. The institutions most trusted by conservatives are also the institutions Americans generally trust. Every time the issue of American ideological demographics is tested by polling organizations, the result is always the same: America is a deeply conservative nation, manipulated by entrenched cadres of the left.