Congress Ranks Lowest Ever in Confidence Poll

How much confidence do you have in the police? Your church? What about organized labor or big business?

Gallup is out with its 2010 Confidence in Institutions poll, ranking 16 American institutions.

And guess which one ends up dead last?

Well, it's Congress, registering a record low score this year.

Just 11% of Americans say they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in Congress, down from 17% last year and the lowest in the poll's history since 1973.

The poll was conducted July 8-11, before Congress passed the financial overhaul bill.

But Frank Newport of Gallup says, "We're tapping into a general sense of dissatisfaction with the men and women we elect and send off to Washington." He says a number of measures show Americans have been down on Congress in the last few years.

The poll aslo shows the president registered a big drop in confidence-- from 51% in 2009 to 36% in 2010. That's still higher than the 2008 figure of 26%, during President' Bush's last year in office.

At the top of the list, the military remains the highest-rated U.S. institution with 76% expressing high confidence. The military has had a long run in the number-one spot.

"We found the big bump-up way back in 1991 after the Persian Gulf War," says Newport. "After that it settled in at a higher level of confidence." He says the military got another boost after the September 11th attacks.

The 2010 poll found small business had the second highest confidence rating at 66%. The police ranked third with 59%.

Rounding out the top five-- churches and the medical system, with confidence ratings of 48% and 40% respectively.

Besides Congress, the bottom five institutions included HMO's, big business, organized labor and television news.