Aug 1, 2023 - Politics & Policy

U.S. confidence in military hits a 20-year low

Data: Gallup; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans' confidence in the U.S. military is at the lowest point in two decades, according to new Gallup data.

Why it matters: The military had retained public trust even as other institutions like the police, public schools and organized religion saw steep declines. But while it remains one of America's most trusted institutions, that trust has now started to decline.

Driving the news: 60% of Gallup respondents expressed confidence in the military in a poll conducted June 1-22.

  • That ranked second behind small business among the 17 institutions included in the poll, and ahead of the police (43%), the medical system (34%) and organized religion (32%).
  • Congress (8%) and newspapers (18%) ranked near the bottom.

Zoom out: Public confidence in the military was between 50% and 58% during the Cold War and threats to U.S. power, such as the Iran hostage crisis, per Gallup.

State of play: Republicans have long had higher confidence in the military, but the rate has declined from 91% in 2020 to 68% this year.

  • Confidence among Democrats (62%) increased when President Biden's term began but has decreased since.

Worth noting: The U.S. spent more on the military in 2022 than the next 10 countries combined.

Go deeper: Americans' trust in college keeps dropping

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