Americans Losing Faith in Religion and Banks, But Trust Military the Most

Americans are continuing to lose faith in a number of social institutions, including religion, banks, television news and public schools, but trust the military now more than ever, a new Gallup poll has found.

Less than half, or 44 percent, of the 1,004 respondents to the poll shared that they have great or a lot of faith in today's organized religion, with 21 percent saying the same for banks and television news, which are all record lows. Only 29 percent of Americans expressed confidence in public schools, while from all the social institutions, Congress scored the lowest with 13 percent, which is actually higher than its 11 percent rating back in 2011.

"The declining confidence seems to be part of a broader pattern, rather than a product of isolated issues facing individual institutions," Gallup commented on the implications of the study. "Once Americans begin to feel better about the way things are going in the United States, some of their lost confidence in the country's major institutions will likely be restored."

The numbers are based on the question by Gallup: "Please tell me how much confidence you, yourself, have in each one -- a great deal, quite a lot, some, or very little."

The military enjoyed the most support from the American public, with 75 percent expressing that they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the U.S. Army.

The rankings of trust of the social institutions were also fairly consistent with the same question being asked in 2011. Most institutions experienced a loss of trust, with organized religion losing 4 percentage points – only public schools and television news suffering a greater drop, at 5 and 6 percent respectively.

A historical average graph was also available to compare the results over a longer period of time. Banks have experienced the greatest loss in confidence over time, losing 21 percentage points, while the military has gained the most trust, growing by 8 percent. The church and organized religion have also experienced significant loss of faith, down by 12 points.

Gallup surveyed adults aged 18 and older living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia in telephone interviews conducted June 7-10, 2012.