Congress sinks to new low

Confidence in Congress is down to just 10 percent, the worst showing for any societal institution in the history of the Gallup poll.

The confidence that people have in Congress has dropped three percentage points from last year, and the legislative body has ranked as the least trusted societal institution for the fourth consecutive year in the Gallup poll. 

The second worst regarded institution — HMOs — has nearly double the trust of Congress, with 19 percent of respondents saying they have confidence in the health insurers. 

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By contrast, 76 percent of people in the United States have confidence in the military, more than any other institution. Small businesses (65 percent) and the police (57 percent) also enjoy the confidence of more than half of the public.

The percentage of people who have some confidence in Congress has declined steadily from when the poll was first commissioned in 1973. Then, 42 percent of those surveyed said they believed in the federal legislative body.

The dismay with Congress is bipartisan. Just 12 percent of Democrats, 11 percent of Republicans, and 10 percent of independents say they have confidence in the institution.

"The divided Congress, with Democrats controlling the Senate and Republicans the House, is likely part of the reason for the low levels of confidence rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans express, and is tied to Americans' frustrations with Congress' inability to get much done," said Gallup's Elizabeth Mendes and Joy Wilke in a statement.

Looking at the other branches of the federal government, 36 percent of Americans say they are confident in the institution of the presidency, while 34 percent say they have trust in the Supreme Court.