Gallup’s annual update on trust in government institutions and actors finds Americans have the most faith in local government (67%) and the least faith in the legislative branch of the federal government, or Congress (32%). Between these two extremes, majorities express trust in state government and the American people, while less than half are confident in the executive and judicial branches of the federal government, elected officials and candidates for office, and in the federal government’s ability to handle both domestic and international problems.
These data are from Gallup’s annual Governance survey, conducted Sept. 1-23. The poll finished just before Congress averted a possible government shutdown at the start of the new fiscal year by temporarily extending federal funding until mid-November. The vote to remove Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy -- a first in U.S. history -- also occurred after the poll was completed.
Trust in each institution or actor is statistically similar to a year ago, except for Congress, which saw a drop of six percentage points, from 38% expressing a great deal or fair amount of trust in it last year to 32% this year.
However, all institutions have below-average trust levels compared with historical Gallup norms dating back to the early 1970s. Most of these -- all but state and local governments -- have trust scores more than 10 points below the historical average for that institution. Trust in the judicial branch, usually one of the most trusted branches (averaging 66%), is furthest from its historical average, with its current 49% confidence rating 17 points below its typical rating since 1972.