Americans' confidence in institutions slips after uptick: Gallup
© Getty Images

Americans’ confidence in several major U.S. institutions, including public schools and the medical system, experienced a drop in the past year, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday. 

The study, conducted from June 1 to July 5, found that despite seeing double-digit increases from 2019 to 2020, the portion of Americans who have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in public schools and medicine decreased in 2021 by 9 percentage points and 7 points, respectively.

Still, confidence in both institutions remains at least several points higher now than in 2019, before the pandemic, according to the poll. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Other institutions that saw an increase in confidence last year also experienced a decline in 2021, including small business, “the church or organized religion,” and banks, each of which had a 5 percentage point drop in average confidence among Americans. 

The declines come as schools are working to address the best way to safely bring back students in person this fall, with several universities receiving pushback for implementing mandatory vaccination requirements for students returning to campus. 

Some states have taken action against such requirements, including Ohio Gov. Mike DeWineMike DeWineThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Legal groups sue Ohio redistricting commission, allege partisan gerrymandering Getting vaccine could lead to 0K scholarship in Ohio MORE (R), who signed a bill Wednesday banning public schools and higher education institutions from mandating that people get vaccinated, noting the shots have not yet received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Additionally, hospitals across the country have been facing new surges in infections among unvaccinated populations, due in part to the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant, first identified in India. 

According to Gallup, other institutions that saw a decline in confidence in the past year include the Supreme Court, the criminal justice system and the military. 

Meanwhile, the percentage of respondents who had a high level of confidence in police rose by 3 percentage points after experiencing its lowest level of confidence in Gallup’s history last year in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd and subsequent civil unrest across the country. 

This year, the period the Gallup survey was conducted included the sentencing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin to 22 1/2 years in prison for Floyd’s murder, one of the longest sentences given to an officer for using deadly force. 

However, Gallup noted that confidence in police is highly split down partisan lines, with 76 percent of those who identify as Republican saying they had a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in police, while just 31 percent of Democrats indicated the same. 

Confidence in police among Black American adults increased in 2021 after reaching an all-time low in 2020, with Gallup reporting that 27 percent of Black respondents had some degree of confidence in the police, up from just 18 percent last year. 

Wednesday’s poll, which included 1,381 adults living in the U.S., reported a margin of error of 3 percentage points.