NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller sits down for his weekly conversation with Gallup’s Frank Newport to talk about trends in U.S. opinion.
We are coming up on America’s Independence Day — the July 4th holiday. This makes it a good time to assess how proud Americans are to be Americans.
While the number is still high at 72 percent (extremely or very proud), it’s down from previous years, particularly the years after 9/11. The drop is caused by Democrats, who report being less proud to be an American.
Are America’s best days ahead or behind us? Americans are actually more positive now than they were in 2012 when we last asked the question (55 percent say best days are ahead). Republicans have become more predictably positive now since Trump is in office. But independents and Democrats are not as negative about the future as we might have predicted.
Is now a good time to find a job? Or a quality job? Seventy-five percent say it’s a good time to find a job. Sixty-five percent say it’s a good time to find a quality job. This latter sentiment is as positive as it has been since 2001. Naturally, Republicans are more positive than Democrats.
And then there is Gallup’s much anticipated annual confidence in institutions data. Of the three branches of government, positive confidence in the presidency and the Supreme Court are equal, at 37 percent great deal/quite a lot of confidence. Confidence in the third branch of government, the Congress, is at the bottom of the list, at 11 percent.
The difference between the presidency and SCOTUS is that while only 18 percent have little or no confidence in SCOTUS, 45 percent have little or no confidence in the presidency. In other words, confidence in the presidency is highly polarized, while confidence in the Supreme Court is more middle-ground.
Forty-six percent of Republicans have high confidence in the Supreme Court, compared to only 33 percent of Democrats. The retirement of Justice Kennedy will probably reduce the confidence of Democrats even further.
More generally, Americans retain the highest confidence in the military at 74 percent high confidence. As noted, Americans retain the lowest confidence in Congress, 11 percent high confidence.
Other institutions with above 50 percent high confidence are small business and the police. That’s it.
Other bottom-dwelling institutions with low confidence ratings — in addition to Congress — include television news, the criminal justice system, newspapers, big business, and organized labor.
Most of these are not dramatically changed from last year, though confidence in the church and organized religion has sunk to a new low, while confidence in big business has edged up slightly.