WASHINGTON, D.C. – Do Americans trust anyone or anything in public life these days?
Even after impeachment, ahead of the elections and amid the coronavirus, some do, according to a new survey. President Donald Trump appears unharmed by his impeachment and subsequent Senate acquittal — in fact he received some of the highest marks of his presidency in the new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, though ratings remain more negative than positive. People don't even despise Congress quite as deeply as they once did, though a large majority still disapprove.
And a slim majority have great confidence in people running the U.S. military.
So when it comes to public trust of the institutions that hold society together, it could be worse — and has been. Still, few Americans have high trust in many of the pillars of the U.S. establishment, giving middling to low ratings to leaders in government, elections, religion, financial institutions and yes, the media.
“When you’re younger, you assume that they’re all going to run things with a certain amount of responsibility,” said Seth Mathews, 29, a sailboat deckhand and educator from Three Rivers, Michigan. He recalls watching a House session with some friends just after graduating college.
“It was bickering old guys, and (I) was like, ‘How do they run a country like this?’" he said. "It was disappointing.”
All is not lost when it comes to public trust, the poll found.
A slim majority — 54% — said they have a great deal of confidence in the military, and another 38% said they have some confidence. But even on this, there were deep political and generational divides. About 7 in 10 Republicans and adults 60 and older said they have high confidence, compared to about 4 in 10 Democrats and those younger than 30.