This fascinating post by David Weakliem documents declining confidence in political institutions:
and the news media:
and some other institutions:
As Weakliem writes:
So far, confidence in everything has declined. You could offer specific explanations for each one, but the fact that it’s so widespread suggests that the declines reflect a general mood of dissatisfaction. I think the decline for public schools is particularly telling, since if you go by the numbers academic performance has improved since the 1970s.
But then there’s this:
Wow. For the military, one can come up with a story regarding the post-Vietnam War period, but it’s not so obvious why confidence in the police and criminal justice systems should be so stable, in the context of the steady decline in confidence in all those other institutions.
All data come from the Gallup Poll question, “I am going to read you a list of institutions in American society. Please tell me how much confidence you, yourself, have in each one—a great deal, quite a lot, some, or very little?” More information is at Weakliem’s post.
P.S. Weakliem has an update here with another year of data and some discussion.