Americans’ confidence in all three branches of the federal government remains low, according a new Gallup poll. Only 32% of those surveyed had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the Supreme Court, and a woeful 8% said the same about Congress—near the all-time lows for both bodies. The presidency received a 33% confidence rating, which is low but up four percentage points from last year.
Americans’ confidence in two of the three institutions that make up the U.S. government — Congress and the Supreme Court — remains near their all-time lows reached in 2014, while confidence in the presidency, although low, is up marginally compared with last year.
For Congress, low confidence in the institution is nothing new to members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, who have also seen low job approval ratings in recent years. Individual members likely aren’t as interested in Americans’ collective opinions as they are in the views of the voters they must appeal to back home. But the public’s extremely low confidence no doubt weighs on Congress at some level.
The Supreme Court, meanwhile, is not directly accountable to the public and often defies public opinion completely. Although its unelected members serve indefinite terms, confidence in the court is not unsusceptible to a drop in confidence in government as a whole.
This survey was conducted in early June—before the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, before the Iran nuclear deal, before Donald Trump became a daily feature in the news. It will be interesting to see how the percentages move in the coming months.