The confidence of average Americans in a wide range of major societal institutions is near an all-time low, a new Gallup poll reports. But Americans are particularly anxious about their banks.
Over the past decade the percentage of Americans who express “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence has dropped or remained flat for 12 out of the 14 institutions listed in the poll. For example, confidence in organized labor, police, the criminal justice system, and the U.S. Supreme Court all inched down between 1% and 4% since June 2006.
But Americans’ confidence in banks has plunged—down 22 percentage points over the past 10 years. In 2006, 49% of those surveyed expressed confidence in banks, compared to only 27% recently.
The banks, “took a hit amid the bursting housing bubble in 2007 and 2008, and dropped further after the ensuing financial crisis,” the Gallup report states.
Organized religion also took a big hit, with an 11 percentage point drop in the poll, as did TV and news media and Congress—all down 10 percentage points. The only institutions reporting increased confidence on the behalf of Americans is the presidency (up 3 points) and the medical system (up 1 point).
Declining confidence in America’s banks shouldn’t come as a big shock. Previous studies have shown that the level of trust in all financial institutions has fallen, with only 8% of Americans saying that they truly have faith in these businesses.
If there’s a consolation for America’s banks, it’s that people still have more confidence in them they do in Congress, which only dipped 10 percentage points in the Gallup poll since 2006—but was extremely low to begin with: 19% in 2006, down to 9% in 2016.
Americans’ confidence in big business, meanwhile, remained flat, measuring in the poll at only 18% in 2006 and 18% again in 2016.