The public’s confidence in major American institutions has declined almost completely across the board from last year, with organized labor the only to avoid a decrease, remaining flat, according to survey results from Gallup.
One thing continues to be true, as it has been for several years now: Americans have far more confidence in small than big business. To wit, this year two-thirds (68%) of respondents express “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in small business, almost 5 times the share who feel the same way about big business (14%). Both are down from last year, though the decline is greater for big business (-4% points) than small business (-2% points).
The figures are particularly concerning for big business, for which 40% of respondents reported “very little” confidence. The 14% this year with “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in big business is the lowest figure in the survey’s history, which dates back almost 50 years, to 1973, and which has been conducted almost annually since 1983. While confidence in big business tended to be higher in the survey editions prior to 2001 than after, there has been a steady decline since 2018’s spike of 25% expressing that high level of confidence, according to a review of historical survey data on this topic.
In contrast to the long-running question on big business, Gallup has only included large technology companies in the mix of institutions since 2020, but a downward trend is already becoming clear. This year 26% of respondents say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in large tech companies, down from 29% last year and 32% the year before. Correspondingly, the percentage with “very little” confidence has grown from 21% to 31% during that time frame. Separate research from Gallup has found a similar trend in recent years, with the percentage of adults holding a positive view of big tech companies dropping from 46% in 2019 to 34% in 2021. Moreover, while trust in technology as an industry remains high globally, it has also been on the decline.
For data on other major institutions including the medical system, public schools, and banks, check out the full Gallup survey results here.
About the Data: The 2022 results are based on a June survey of 1,015 US Adults (18+).