In Which Institutions Do Americans Have the Most (and Least) Confidence?

The AP-National Constitution Center poll, conducted August 18 to August 22 of this year, asked respondents whether they are “extremely confident, very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not confident at all in the people who are running” that institution. Here’s what the respondents said, broken down into rough bands:

Band Institution % saying extremely/very % saying somewhat % saying not too/not at all % (Extremely/very percentage) minus (not too/not at all percentage)
1 Congress 8 35 57 -49
2 Blogs 8 39 47 -39
2 Banks 10 42 47 -37
2 Federal government 10 42 47 -37
3 Print media 12 48 39 -27
3 Broadcast media 13 47 40 -27
3 Organized labor 14 45 38 -24
3 Major companies 12 52 35 -23
3 Online news media 13 49 34 -21
3 State government 13 54 33 -20
4 Religious institutions 18 46 34 -16
4 Public schools 20 44 36 -16
4 Local government 15 55 29 -14
5 State courts 19 58 21 -2
5 Supreme Court 24 54 21 3
6 Charitable institutions 26 56 17 9
7 Scientific community (universities & research institutes) 33 50 16 17
8 Small and local companies 40 51 8 32
9 Military 54 38 8 46

The big changes since last year’s poll were a 16% increase in the spread for the military, a 12% increase in the spread (meaning greater confidence) for big business and the Supreme Court, a 9% increase in the spread for banks and charities, and a 7% decrease in the spread (meaning lesser confidence) for Congress.

Naturally, this sort of data is of limited relevance, since many respondents might not have a firm preexisting opinion on the subject, and their response after a few seconds might differ sharply from their views if they discussed the matter for some time. Moreover, some of the categories are pretty wide, and it may well be that people have a much more positive view of (for instance) some organized religious institutions than others. Nonetheless, I thought I’d pass it along in case people were interested.