Americans’ faith in major societal institutions hasn’t improved over the past year following a slump in public confidence in 2022.
Last year, Gallup recorded significant declines in public confidence in 11 of the 16 institutions it tracks annually, with the presidency and Supreme Court suffering the most. The share of Americans expressing a great deal or fair amount of confidence in these fell 15 and 11 percentage points, respectively.
Neither score recovered appreciably in the latest poll, with confidence in the court now at 27% and the presidency at 26%. However, the survey was conducted June 1-22, 2023, before the Supreme Court issued decisions affecting affirmative action in education, college loan forgiveness and LGBTQ+ Americans’ access to creative services. Any or all of these decisions could have altered the court’s image as well as that of President Joe Biden, who spoke out against the rulings.
Public confidence in each of the other 14 institutions remains near last year’s relatively low level, with none of the scores worsening or improving meaningfully.
Americans’ confidence in higher education has fallen to 36%, sharply lower than in two prior readings in 2015 (57%) and 2018 (48%). In addition to the 17% of U.S. adults who have “a great deal” and 19% “quite a lot” of confidence, 40% have “some” and 22% “very little” confidence.
In 2015, majorities of Americans in all key subgroups expressed confidence in higher education, with one exception -- independents (48%). By 2018, though, confidence had fallen across all groups, with the largest drop, 17 percentage points, among Republicans. In the latest measure, confidence once again fell across the board, but Republicans’ sank the most -- 20 points to 19%, the lowest of any group. Confidence among adults without a college degree and those aged 55 and older dropped nearly as much as Republicans’ since 2018.