Jul 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Massive trust gap splits America

Data: Gallup. Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans' trust in all big institutions has cratered, but look at the massive gap in who we do trust.

By the numbers: New Gallup polling finds a 45-point split in trust of police — 76% of Republicans vs. 31% of Democrats. Confidence in the church or organized religion — twice as many Rs as Ds, 51% to 26%.

So who do Democrats trust instead?

  • With President Biden in the White House, 62% of Ds said they trust the presidency vs. 13% of Rs. That's a 49-point delta — the biggest in the survey.
  • No surprise here: Blue America trusts the media by double digits more than red America does.
  • But this is interesting: Twice as many Democrats trust public schools as do Republicans, 43% to 20%.

The big picture: Overall trust in key U.S. institutions has dropped 10 points in the past decade, according to Gallup, which began tracking the question during the Watergate year of 1973.

  • The police (51%) are one of just three institutions in which a majority of Americans express confidence. The others — small business (70%) and the military (69%) — have consistently led the list.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, Gallup reports, are Congress, TV news, big business, the criminal justice system and newspapers — each with a confidence rating at or below 21%. Congress (12%) and big business (18%) have ranked at the bottom of the list since 2007.

Gallup found a big racial difference in trust of police:

  • 56% of white adults trusted police vs. 27% of Black adults.
  • That's up from 19% of Black adults in 2020, right after the killing of George Floyd. Confidence among whites was unchanged.

The fine print: The telephone poll of 1,381 U.S. adults was taken June 1 to July 5, with a margin of error of ±3 points for the full sample.

📊 Go deeper: Read the Gallup report. ... Police breakout ... Institution-by-institution data back to 1973.

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