Taxes, spiders, North Korea, it doesn’t matter. If you can name it, it’s probably more popular than the United States Congress.
Only 7 percent of Americans have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the U.S. Congress, according to a new poll by Gallup. Even after many years of brutally unpopular Congresses, that’s the lowest level ever recorded, down from 10 percent in 2013. It’s not just the least popular Congress, though: It’s also the least popular institution of any kind ever recorded by Gallup.
The question was part of an annual poll by Gallup measuring public confidence in a variety of U.S. institutions. Once again, Americans are most confident in the military, which enjoys 74 percent confidence. That’s a drop from 82 percent as recently as 2009 but still well ahead of everything else. Along with the military, only small business (62 percent) and the police (53 percent) have public confidence higher than 50 percent, while organized religion comes close at 45 percent.
Every single institution is at least twice as popular as Congress. The next-lowest entities are television news (18 percent) and news on the Internet (19 percent).
It wasn’t always this bad for the men and women of Washington. In the mid-80s, 42 percent of people had confidence in Congress, and even in 2004 confidence stood at a comparatively-outstanding 30 percent. It’s been a brutal decade, however, and Congress has steadily declined in public esteem. It hasn’t cracked 20 percent confidence since 2005.
The poll surveyed 1,027 adults from June 5-8 2014. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points at 95 percent confidence.