New Lows: Americans Fed Up With All Three Federal Branches
July 1, 2014 by Sam Rolley
Americans are losing confidence in all three branches of the Federal government. Fewer than one in 10 citizens have faith in Congress, just 29 percent express confidence in the President and only 30 percent feel the Supreme Court is doing a good job.
The numbers, according to the Gallup polling agency, indicate historical lows in American confidence for both Congress and the Supreme Court, along with the lowest Presidential approval since Barack Obama took office.
“While Gallup recently reported a historically low rating of Congress, Americans have always had less confidence in Congress than in the other two branches of government,” the polling agency noted. “The Supreme Court and the presidency have alternated being the most trusted branch of government since 1991, the first year Gallup began asking regularly about all three branches.”
The dismal confidence numbers, despite what Obama supporters believe, in no way carry over from damage done during the George W. Bush Administration. By the end of Bush’s second term, confidence in the Federal government had fallen sharply. But the initial year of the Obama Presidency served as a rebound period.
Gallup reported in June 2009:
Public confidence in the presidency has risen by 25 points over the past year, exceeding the 11-point increase in confidence in the military. The percentage of Americans saying they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the presidency has in fact doubled since June 2008, from 26% to 51%. This is directly correlated with President George W. Bush’s 30% approval rating at this time a year ago, and Barack Obama’s 58% rating in the mid-June survey. Historically, Gallup has found that confidence ratings for the presidency are closely linked with the job approval ratings of the sitting president.
In the years since, Americans have obviously been less approving of government under Obama’s control.
The Supreme Court’s historically low approval rating is likely tied to Americans lacking faith in Obama, as Gallup pointed out that “since 1991, the [Supreme Court and the Presidency] have been within six or seven points of each other in confidence ratings.”
Interestingly, the two highest instances of Americans approval of the Supreme Court since Gallup began tracking confidence in the judicial branch in 1973 occurred in 1985 and 1988 — both during the Administration of President Ronald Reagan. By 1988, Reagan had made four appointments to the court.
As for Congress, Gallup pointed out that “lawmakers are likely resigned to the fact that they are the most distrusted institution of government, but there should be concern that now fewer than one in 10 Americans have confidence in their legislative body.”