Americans gave Congress a resounding thumbs down in the annual Gallup Poll® rating confidence in institutions released this week.
Among 16 institutions, Congress rated dead last. Just 10 percent said they had a great deal or quite of lot of confidence in it.
Congress has trailed all other institutions since 2006 when its ratings fell below big business. Current ratings for Congress are the lowest Gallop has found for any institution, ever.
Ratings were not driven by partisanship. Marks for Congress were statistically the same among Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
On the other hand, Americans have the most confidence in the military (76 percent great deal/quite a lot), followed by small business (65 percent) and the police (57 percent).
As a rule, Americans’ confidence in most institutions has declined over the years. The most dramatic drops are for banks (-34 points), public schools (-26 points), television news (-23 points), newspapers (-16 points), the Presidency (-16 points) and organized religion (-14 points).
Confidence in Congress probably won’t change unless several things change:
• Political factions reduce vitriolic rhetoric;
• The House and Senate decide to address issues and pass legislation; or
• Voters get fed up and make wholesale changes in the next election.