Americans least confident in Congress, most confident in military, survey finds

Americans are less confident in Congress than in other national institutions, including the police, public schools, and the presidency, according to a new Gallup poll.

Just 12 percent of Americans said they had a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in Congress. Americans have the most confidence in the military out of the 15 national institutions in the poll, with 78 percent giving it the highest confidence rating.

Gallup reports that the institutions Americans trust most have changed little over the past year, although the polling organization noted that Americans' confidence in television news increased significantly from 22 percent to 27 percent.

This year's confidence figures were, for the most part, below each institution's historical average, which takes into account 35 Gallup polls conducted since 1973. This likely reflects an overall dissatisfaction with the way things are going in the United States, largely due to the weak economy, according to Gallup. Banks, Congress, and the presidency fell furthest below their historical averages.

The military was an exception to the trend: This year's 78 percent rating was 11 points higher than the institution's historical average. Americans express more confidence in the military when it is actively engaged in combat, Gallup said. The military has been the top-ranked institution every year since 1989, save 1997, when the newly added small-business category edged it out.

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