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Americans do not trust the great institutions  (Part 1 of 2)

Americans do not trust the great institutions  (Part 1 of 2)

The Gallup polling organization has just released is annual “trust” poll.  Basically, it asks the public to rate their confidence in various American institutions in the public and private sectors.  

It should come as no surprise that the current regard with which the people hold most of these institutions is at the lowest level ever recorded.  Here is a rundown of Gallup’s findings in the 2022 survey with the drop from 2021 – and everyone dropped except organized labor, which stayed the same.

Small business 68 -2

Military 64 -5

Police 45 -6

Healthcare 38 -6

Church 31 -6

public schools 28 -4

Unions 28 —

Banking 27 -6

Tech co. 26 -3

Supreme Court 25 -11

Presidency 23 -15

Newspapers 16 -5

Criminal Justice 14 -6

Big business 14 -4

TV News 11 -5

Congress   7 -5

So, what can we divine from these figures and trends?

First of all, the fact that they all have dropped except one – and none gained – it is fair to say that the people of America are generally unhappy.  That explains why other polls show that more than 90 percent of the people believe America is going in the wrong direction.

The two most notable losers in terms of public trust are the Supreme Court and the presidency.  And the latter may explain why President Biden’s favorability rating has plummeted to the mid-30 percentiles.

The numbers tend to suggest that the public dissatisfaction is directed more at the progressive community than the conservative side of the philosophic divide. The three most popular issues – small business, military, and police – tend to be associated with the conservative side of the ledger.  And small businesses and the military are the only two institutions that claim the trust of a majority of the people.

At the bottom of the scales, we find more progressive subjects.  Democrats currently control both houses of Congress and the presidency.  Congress is at the very bottom of the list – and the presidency is the biggest year-to-year loser.

People get most of their current events information from the news media, which generally leans left.  Four-out-of-five distrust the newspapers – and almost 9-out-of-ten distrust the TV news networks.

If you consider the meaning for future elections, the presidency and the Congress are subject to the vote of the people – and the numbers seem to suggest that the people are not happy with those institutions being in the hands of Democrats.  That may be why most polls and pundits predict GOP victories in the 2022 midterms.

The only indication of distrust in a conservative institution is the 11-point drop in the Supreme Court.  It is noteworthy, however, that decline in trust for the Supreme Court cannot be directly remedied by an election – and therefore is not as important in driving votes as are the Congress and the presidency.  

Most analyses show that voters on both sides do not make a theoretical future Supreme Court appointment a major factor in their election decisions. It may be “a” consideration, but not “the” consideration.

And even at this low point, the Supreme Court is trusted by three times more voters than is the Congress that passes judgment on Supreme Court nominees — and slightly more trusted than the person making those nominations.

The fundamental question is: Should the public trust these institutions – especially those on the low end of the scale?  Is it important to a civil society that the public trusts the political class which is currently at the bottom of the scale?

In many ways, the Founders believed that trusting the government would be a mistake.  In fact, the Constitution warns us that we have inalienable rights that can only be taken away by Government.  We have been admonished to maintain “eternal vigilance” against an increasingly powerful central government.  That is inbred in the traditional American culture.

The political question is which government we should distrust most.  The Democrat (progressive) vision favors a powerful regulatory central government based on an elitist establishment ruling class.  The Republican (conservative) is for a limited central government over which we the people exert the greatest influence.

The Gallup survey strongly suggests that when given a choice, the people trust Republican (conservative) government more – but not too much in that case either.  The power in America currently resides with the left – in government, media, and education – and it seems the people are not happy with that.

(Part 2 will deal with many of these same issues with a closer look at the partisan split.)

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Perry

    The government has stopped earning my trust. But I hold the scotus in high regard for now. But our justice system?? Hell no!!!!!

    • Bill L


  2. Bill Leibold

    Can anybody name a single entity or item that the Communist (DemocRAT) Party of America HASN”T screwed up totally?

  3. poorgrandchildren

    Our brilliant founders knew that people running any government could never be trusted and insisted on having numerous checks and balances in the system–a not-a-democracy republic.

  4. Poorgrandchildren

    Leftists (Marxists are not progressive or liberal) lost trust in the DC Supremes when over one-half of them honored their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution instead of protecting and defending the prior decisions of leftist judges.

  5. poorgrandchildren

    Check the Heritage Foundation’s index to see how many countries have more freedom than this “land of the formerly free and home of the formerly brave”. Hint, we’re down to #25.

    • frank stetson

      Economic freedom is what Heritage looked at, not freedom in general.

      Don’t worry, you are poor, does not affect you :>)

  6. poorgrandchildren

    A major cause of the distrust and anger is that too many Americans have bought the leftist LIE that our republic is a democracy. Everyone on all sides know that the best organized mob in a de-mob-ocracy can force everyone to march in lockstep with it. No one wants to be forced so everyone is afraid, angry, and combative. See Article 4, Section 4, U. S. Constitution and

  7. frank stetson

    Once again Larry entreats us with his expert political pundit’s view of a trend that has been trending downward for over 18 years, of course, laying the entire blame on Democrats when most of the drop over those years is due to Republican trending. Last year’s 2021 view, indicating the end of Trump, also showed declines, not as steep but a solid downward trend. This year, the Democrats lost a lot of confidence in Scotus dropping the overall average a good bit finally catching up to Republicans in general frustrations.

    In 2017, first Trump year, we rose 3 points to 34; for the next two years we dropped back 2 points only to rise by 4 points in 2020, the last year of Trump and one hot economy. Since then, we have dropped 4 and 5 points a year under Biden to end up at 27, our lowest point ever.

    The last time we dropped 5 points in each of two consecutive years was 1989, end of Regan, beginning of Bush. So, this drop has happened before, on the Republican watch as Reagan’s borrowing-economy hit the wall.

    Larry’s insight is “The numbers tend to suggest that the public dissatisfaction is directed more at the progressive community than the conservative side of the philosophic divide,” a statement with more caveats and weasel wording than Trump on steroids. With those caveats, it’s almost 100% that he can claim that’s what happened…When he tries to prove why, it only gets more partisan.

    Fact is that Democrats are just catching up to Republicans in their dissatisfactions and frustrations, perhaps in different areas, perhaps for different reasons, but let’s face it Larry, we’re all pissed off now. Pissed off at most everything. That’s my “there-there” and not much more than that.

    Sad times. Not fun.