Whom Do We Trust?

How will a global pandemic, record unemployment, and a nationwide reckoning around systemic racism affect our trust in institutions?

Despite what many considered a watershed election year in 2016, trust in various American institutions has remained mostly steady for the past decade.

Using Gallup’s historical archives, we’ve analyzed Americans’ trust in institutions, including the medical system, Congress, the presidency and the police

Over the past ten years, trust has remained mostly stable for all four institutions, with police consistently trusted the most out of all four. It has been the only institution to receive a majority rating. Over the past 10 years, those who say they trust the police a great deal or quite a lot averages at 55%

But recent polling may indicate an erosion, with two-in-three saying protests of George Floyd’s killing were “a sign of broader problems in treatment of black Americans by police.”

On average over the past 10 years, about one-in-10 Americans say they trust Congress and a third say they trust the presidency.

Following the pandemic— and what many see as Congress and the administration’s insufficient efforts to address it— that trust could shift in 2020.