New Gallup and Pew polls rank police
among three highest in public confidence

Two major polls released since July 2019 put police in the top three among Americans when it comes to confidence in leaders and authorities.

“We should be telling everybody we’re in the top three,” said ILACP Executive Director Ed Wojcicki. “We’re trying to get this message out. But when we pitched it to media in Illinois this summer, you know how many calls we got? Zero. So let’s tell the story ourselves.”

Gallup, in June 2019, asked Americans about their confidence in 15 major institutions, then released the findings in July. The top three were:

  1. The military
  2. Small business
  3. The police

Then in September 2019, the Pew Research Center released its findings about the public confidence in major institutions. The top three:

  1. K-12 public school principals
  2. Police officers
  3. Military leaders

Even more impressive, Wojcicki said, is that when Gallup asks about respect "for police in your area," the percentage is much higher.  Gallup asks this question every few years. In a 2016 poll, 76 percent of Americans say they have “a great deal” of respect for the police in their area, up 12 percentage points from the previous year.

"That's why I always tell chiefs and officers - the people in your community really like you, and you need to know that," Wojcicki said. "Look at the Gallup polls; the American public thinks their local police are doing a great job."

Gallup first conducted its confidence poll in 1973 and has followed up almost every year since 1983. "Just three institutions -- the military (73%), small business (68%) and the police (53%) -- have garnered majority levels of confidence in all polls Gallup has conducted on each measure over the past two decades, the report said [emphasis added].