Confidence in Congress and the presidency has taken a nosedive in the last 10 years. The same is true of other key institutions, although almost all voters continue to have faith in the military, according to the latest Fox News poll.
Congress comes in last no matter how you look at it. The poll, released Tuesday, finds 39 percent of voters have at least some confidence in the lawmaking body. Not only is that lower than every other institution tested, but it’s also down from 71 percent in 2003 (the last time the question was asked by Fox News) and a record-high 76 percent in 2002.
In addition, just five percent have “a great deal” of confidence in Congress. A 61-percent majority lacks confidence in the institution.
Congress ranks just below the news media, which has the confidence of 42 percent of voters (9 percent a great deal and 33 percent some). Fifty-eight percent lack confidence in the media.
Confidence in the institution of the presidency is also down. In 2003, 76 percent had a great deal or some confidence in the office, while 52 percent feel that way today.
The changes among partisans are striking: 83 percent of Democrats are confident in the presidency today. That’s up from 60 percent who were confident in 2003.
On the other side of the aisle, 25 percent of Republicans feel confident in the presidency in the new poll. That’s down from the near-unanimous 98 percent who were confident in 2003, two years into George W. Bush’s presidency and relatively soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
Among independents, 39 percent express confidence today, down from 68 percent in 2003.
Overall, nearly half -- 47 percent -- lack confidence in the presidency. That’s more than double the number who felt that way in 2003.
The highest level of confidence in the institution of the presidency in the Fox poll was 86 percent in 2002 (12 percent lacked confidence).
Voters have the most confidence in the military: 93 percent have a great deal (67 percent) or some confidence (26 percent). Confidence in the armed forces hit a record-high 96 percent in both 2003 and 2002.
The military is followed by the FBI, the Supreme Court and the CIA. Majorities express at least some confidence in these institutions (74 percent, 69 percent and 64 percent respectively).
Some 53 percent of voters have confidence in major business corporations, down from a high of 63 percent in 2002.
Fifty-one percent have confidence in the IRS. While that’s up from a low of 40 percent last year in the midst of the scandal over the targeting of conservative groups, it’s down from a high of 67 percent feeling confident in 2002.
Since 2002, confidence in the IRS has declined 28 points among Republicans and 26 points among independents, while confidence has held steady among Democrats.
The military trounces the media in two head-to-head matchups. Voters respect the military more (by a 90-5 percent margin) and trust the military more (by 80-10).
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,006 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from February 9-11, 2014. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.