ANXIETY NOSTALGIA AND MISTRUST

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FINDINGS FROM THE 2015 AMERICAN VALUES SURVEY 29

Part IV. American Institutions

and Government: Confidence

and Representation

Confidence in Institutions

There is a wide disparity in the public’s confidence in major institutions in the country. While

majorities of the public report having a great deal or some confidence in the police (75%), the

criminal justice system (62%), and organized religion (55%), no more than half say they have a

great deal or some confidence in the federal government (50%), news organizations (47%), and

large business corporations (46%).

There are large racial disparities in attitudes toward the police and the criminal justice system.

More than eight in ten (83%) white Americans say they have a great deal or some confidence

in the police, compared to roughly seven in ten (69%) Hispanic Americans and fewer than half

(48%) of black Americans. A slim majority (52%) of black Americans say they have little or no confidence

in the police. Similar racial gaps appear in views of the criminal justice system. Two-thirds

FIGURE 11. How much confidence do you have in each of the following institutions

in American society?

Percent saying a great deal or some

By party affiliation

All Americans Republican Independent Democrat

100

90

80

60

40

75

71 70

70

62

71

59 59 60

59

55

55

51

48 50

44

47

46

42 44

40

43 41

20

0

The police

The criminal

justice system

Organized

religion

The federal

government

News

organizations

Large business

corporations

Source: PRRI 2015 American Values Survey.

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