Gallup again has police among top three most-respected institutions

July 8, 2019

The Gallup organization released a report today that measures the confidence of Americans in many major institutions. The top three are:

  1. The military (73%)
  2. Small business (68%)
  3. The police (53%)

At the bottom are:

  • Newspapers (23%)
  • Big business (23%)
  • Television news (18%
  • Congress (11%)

The question asks how much confidence people have in a variety of institutions and industries. The percentages above indicate that 53% have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the police. Only three industries, the ones listed, enjoy a confidence level of 50% or higher. 

Ed Wojcicki, ILACP Executive Director, commented on the importance of these data.  "The police are consistently among the most respected professionals in America. In the top three. For decades," he said. "Our members are always saying that we need to do a much better job at telling our own story, and so I'm pleased to share these Gallup numbers."

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 this 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]. The headline on this year's report was about a low level of confidence in organized religion. Only 17% said this year they have very little or no confidence in the police, compared to 36% for "the criminal justice system."