July 17, 2009
[efoods]Americans have not lost hope in society despite all the bad news out there. The Gallup polling organization’s annual update on public confidence in institutions, published last month, is a useful snapshot of the United States as the people view it. This picture shows a country quite different from what is portrayed through the lens of the mass media or the entertainment industry. The most well regarded institutions are the military, small business, the police and organized religion. Popular culture often demeans, ignores or stigmatizes these organizations, but most Americans consider them the bedrock of society.
Fully 82 percent expressed “a great deal” or “a lot” of confidence in the military. This has risen from 69 percent in 2007 and is tied with its 2003 ranking after the outbreak of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The military’s only higher score was 85 percent in 1991 after the first Gulf war. The military is the only institution to have scored in the 80 percent range in the 35-year history of the series. This high regard is especially impressive given negative press coverage of the military during wartime.