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Americans’ confidence in government down as 7 percent now have trust in Congress

  • McClatchy Washington Bureau
  • Published Monday, June 30, 2014, at 8:01 a.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at 7:13 p.m.

Confidence in government has reached historic lows, according to a new Gallup survey, as 7 percent say they’re have confidence in Congress and 29 percent feel that way about the White House.

The Supreme Court, at 30 percent, and Congress hit record lows, while the presidential rating was a six-year low.

Congress has historically trailed the other two branches, as the White House and Supreme Court have traded places as the most trusted branch.

“But on a relative basis, Americans' confidence in all three is eroding,” a Gallup analysis reported. Over the past year, confidence has fallen four points for the Supreme Court, seven for the presidency and three for the White House.

Gallup has been asking about confidence in the White House for 23 years. At that time, as the Gulf War was ending, the office garnered 72 percent confidence, as President George H. W. Bush had a 89 percent approval rating.

Americans do still trust some institutions. “At this point, Americans place much greater faith in the military and the police than in any of the three branches of government,” Gallup found. “Members of Congress are likely resigned to the fact that they are the most distrusted institution of government, but there should be concern that now fewer than one in 10 Americans have confidence in their legislative body. And (President Barack) Obama, like the younger Bush before him, is surely aware that the presidency's low confidence rating is not auspicious for his ability to govern and rally the public behind his favored policies.

“While the Supreme Court, with unelected justices serving indefinite terms, is immune to the same public pressures that elected members of Congress and the president must contend with, it is not immune to the drop in confidence in U.S. government institutions that threatens and complicates the U.S. system of government,” Gallup said.

Email: dlightman@mcclatchydc.com; Twitter: @lightmandavid.

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