- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A new Gallup poll reveals that Americans have declining opinions of most national institutions, including banks, big business and public schools. At the bottom of the list are lawmakers: Only 9 percent of the public has confidence in Congress.

“Congress has the ignominious distinction of being the only institution sparking little or no confidence in a majority of Americans,” wrote Gallup analyst Jim Norman.

The poll found that less than a fourth of the respondents have positive reactions to the criminal justice system, organized labor, print and broadcast news, banks and big business. Only a third have confidence in the U.S. presidency, Supreme Court and public schools. About 40 percent vouch for the medical system and organized religion.

Only two institutions score respectful reactions: 56 percent of Americans have confidence in the police, 73 percent feel the same about the military — numbers that have remained unchanged for a decade.

“Americans clearly lack confidence in the institutions that affect their daily lives: the schools responsible for educating the nation’s children; the houses of worship that are expected to provide spiritual guidance; the banks that are supposed to protect Americans’ earnings; the U.S. Congress elected to represent the nation’s interests; and the news media that claims it exists to keep them informed,” Mr. Norman wrote.

Why such lousy ratings? The pollster does not cite reasons, but makes a recommendation.

“The task of identifying and dealing with those reasons in a way that rebuilds confidence is one of the more important challenges facing the nation’s leaders in the years ahead,” he said.

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